"These Recovery funds are essential in helping local law enforcement agencies fulfill their mission of making the places in which we all live and work as safe as possible, "Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey explained at today’s event, where the Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major commitment to aid our law enforcement officials who work tirelessly to defend our communities.
(Vice President Joe Biden announces new COPS funding at an event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
The Recovery Act is providing $1 billion in grants to fund the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers in all 50 states. The grants will be awarded to 1,046 agencies across the country, and will provide 100 percent of the salary and benefits for 4,699 officers for three years. The Vice President explained that these Recovery Act funds will not only save and create jobs, but will also help build safer communities as we move forward:
A big part of the Recovery Act is about building communities – making them as strong as they can be, allowing every American family to live a better life than the one they are leading now. And we can’t achieve the goal of stronger communities without supporting those who keep our streets safe.
The Recovery Act grants will be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The Department of Justice received over 7,200 requests for the grants. Attorney General Holder explained how grant recipients were chosen:
And these officers will go directly to the places they are needed most. These funds are focused on hiring officers who will be on the streets, in our neighborhoods, and on the front lines of our fight to keep the American people safe. And let us not forget: keeping brave and well-trained police officers employed is also good for our economy. These grants not only represent 4,699 men and women across our country fighting crime, but also 4,699 men and women who will be able to make house and car payments, make ends meet, and save for their children’s future.
Of course, with such an incredible program, it’s no surprise that the number of grant requests was overwhelming. We received applications from more than 7,000 cities and towns, and made funding decisions based on crime rate, financial need, and community policing activities. The thousands of applications that poured in are indicative of both the tough times our states, cities and tribes are facing and the unyielding commitment by law enforcement to making our communities safer. I’m proud to be a part of an administration that backs up the commitment of our law enforcement community not just with words, but with the resources our partners need.