The United States Department of Justice awarded three cities in Tennessee a total of $785,370 out of a total of $139 million in the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The program was designed to provide funding directly to law enforcement agencies to hire and/or rehire additional career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
The three Tennessee cities are Lenoir, Ripley, and Gordonsville. Lenoir was awarded $375,000, Ripley $316,620, and Gordonsville $93,750. Both Lenoir and Ripley will be able to hire three new officers with the money, and Gordonsville will be able to hire one.
In a statement released from the Department of Justice United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Tennessee, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said that the COPS Hiring Program was dedicated to providing police departments with resources needed to help ensure community safety and build community trust. “The grants we are announcing today will enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community-oriented policing programs.”
Joe Murphy, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, said that “The COPS grant programs provides support to local law enforcement agencies that allows them to hire additional officers. The grant award to the Ripley, Tennessee Police Department funds three additional police officers. This will help reduce crime in Ripley and make that community safer.”
From the COPS grant website, it said that the money given to the police agencies is intended to be applied towards “engagement in planned community partnerships, implementation of projects to analyze and assess problems, implementation of changes to personnel and agency management in support of community policing, and increased capacity of the agency to engage in community policing activities.”
Of the 183 cities and towns listed in the DOJ COPS program, New Orleans, Louisiana was awarded the largest grant of $7.27 million – enough to fund 30 police officers, according to the statement. The recipient of the most modest grant was Lake Lafayette, Missouri at just over $70,500.
The Justice Department said that from its 183 agencies awarded grants, approximately half will use the funding to focus on building legitimacy and trust between law enforcement and communities, and 41 agencies will seek to address high rates of gun violence; 21 will focus on other areas of violence, and 19 will focus CHP resources on combating hate and domestic extremism or supporting police-based responses to persons in crisis.
Law enforcement consulting group Lexipol’s blog Police1.com, reported that the Justice Department said it received nearly 600 applications from police departments in nearly every state and U.S. territory.
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