Menendez, Booker, Holt Announce $1.5M COPS Grant to Enhance Public Safety in Trenton

Menendez, Booker, Holt Announce $1.5M COPS Grant to Enhance Public Safety in Trenton

TRENTON, NJ - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker today joined Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12), State Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson in a public show of solidarity among local, state and federal officials to enhance public safety and improve the lives of Trentonians. (Photos below.)

"Today is the continuation of a promise both to law enforcement and the community. This is a promise that began on 9-11 and continues as long as we're representing New Jersey," Sen. Menendez said on the steps of Trenton City Hall. "It's important to make sure cities like Trenton have the manpower to fight violent crime and keep their streets and residents safe."

"New Jerseyans deserve to feel protected in their communities and these grants will help us to ensure our police departments are adequately staffed to do that," Sen. Booker said. "This is also a big win for New Jersey because the COPS funding puts people to work in the important role of keeping our residents safe."

"I was pleased to work with the Trenton leadership and the Justice Department to secure these funds," Rep. Rush Holt added. "Today's good news is a reminder of the need for continued federal support for local law enforcement and the importance of investing in our local communities."

Menendez, Booker and Holt announced $1.5 million in federal funding to hire 12 new police officers to patrol the streets of Trenton. The grant award is part of a combined $12,246,792 from the U.S. Justice Department's COPS Program to hire 87 additional police officers statewide.

"I am grateful to the New Jersey Senate and Congressional delegations for their help in securing the COPS grant. In addition to our new class of 24 police recruits, the $1.5 million will enable us to hire 12 additional police officers to be deployed in 2015," said Mayor Jackson.

The Trenton Police Department is a 222-year-old organization with 224 sworn officers, 75 civilian employees, 65 part-time crossing guards, and a budget of $32 million. Its key operating units include Patrol, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), the Vice Enforcement Unit (VEU), and Administrative Services. Last year, the department's police radio room received 55,265 calls for service.

"I would like to commend our delegation, Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Holt, for their successful efforts to deliver this critical aid to allow Trenton to hire more police," said Asw. Watson Coleman. "There is nothing more important than keeping our streets and our children safe and this grant will go a long way towards helping Trenton officials do both. I have always been a strong advocate for more stringent gun safety laws along with additional deterrents to decrease the violence in our neighborhoods and this aid will help propel us towards that goal."

This year's COPS grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years (36 months) for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions (including filling existing unfunded vacancies) or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts. Any additional costs above the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits, up to $125,000, are the responsibility of the grantee agency.

Last year, New Jersey police departments were awarded a combined $5,060,460 in COPS grants to hire 29 officers, $9,584,458 to hire 61 officers in fiscal year 2012. Earlier this year, Sens. Menendez and Booker led a letter signed by 34 Senators urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund this vital program at the highest possible levels in fiscal year 2015 (link).

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