Sens. Menendez, Booker Announce Over $12M to Enhance Public Safety, Hire More Police Officers

Sens. Menendez, Booker Announce Over $12M to Enhance Public Safety, Hire More Police Officers

NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker today announced $12,246,792 in federal funding through the U.S. Justice Department's COPS Program to hire 87 additional police officers to patrol the streets of New Jersey. This year's grant awards are more than double what the state was allocated last year and nearly as much as it received in the previous two years combined.

"There is no greater role of government than to protect its citizens," said Sen. Menendez. "This critical federal funding will help ensure our local police have the personnel to combat violent crime and keep our streets, neighborhoods and residents safe."

"New Jerseyans deserve to feel protected and safe in our communities and to accomplish this we must ensure our police departments are adequately staffed," said Sen. Booker. "The grants awarded to our state today through the COPS program will allow us to be more proactive in effectively responding to and preventing crime, improving public safety throughout our region."

Today's grant awards:

Asbury Park Police Department$750,000Six officersCamden County Police Department$3,248,20015 officersIrvington$1,000,000Eight officersJersey City$1,875,00015 officersLong Branch Police Department $625,000Five officersNewark$1,875,00015 officersParamus Police Department$623,592Five officersPhillipsburg $125,000One officerTrenton$1,500,00012 officersWildwood Police Department$625,000Five officers

New Jersey's Senators have consistently fought for funding of the COPS Hiring Program. 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 FY2015 (link). Last year, the two Senators sent a letter to Senate negotiators urging continued support for vital crime-fighting programs such as COPS Hiring Program in the FY2014 budget deal (link), the source of this grant. Sen. Menendez also previously joined the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg in urging funding for the COPS Hiring Program.

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.

Priority consideration was given to agencies that requested officer positions in order to deploy school resource officers, build trust between the police and community, hire military veterans, focus on homicide or gun violence, have a neighborhood or other geographic area designated as a Promise Zone as part of the President's Promise Zone Initiative, and/or have experienced an unanticipated catastrophic event.

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.

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