PHOENIX -- More police officers will soon be hitting the streets of the Valley.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has announced funding totaling nearly $5.3 million to seven cities throughout the state of Arizona, aimed at creating 43 new law enforcement positions.
15 of those new officers will be hired in the city of Phoenix.
"These 15 officers, combined with our recent hiring of 11 new officers ahead of schedule, will go a long way to giving our police department the personnel they need to keep our community safe," said Mayor Greg Stanton.
Phoenix plans to put these resources to use as soon as possible. The additional officers are expected to be dispatched to local schools as part of the department's long-standing and successful School Resource Officer Program, which aims to create a safer learning environment for Phoenix's kids.
In addition, some of those funds will support the department's new Business and Economic Stability Team (BEST) which targets those who are victimizing businesses in the city of Phoenix, causing great economic loss to our community.
"The Mayor and I share the same goals when it comes to making the city of Phoenix the safest major metropolitan city in the Country," said Police Chief Daniel Garcia. "It's nice to know these efforts are shared and supported by the DOJ."
The list of this year's hiring award grantees within the state of Arizona includes Phoenix, Maricopa, Clarkdale, Glendale, Peoria, Yuma, and the Tohono O'Odham Nation Police Department.
Glendale plasn to hire 10 new police officers.
In addition to the hiring awards the City of Phoenix will receive a $50,000 grant from the COPS Office's Community Policing Development Program for the Phoenix Business and Economic Stability Project, aimed at measuring the impact the reselling of stolen goods has on local public safety and legitimate businesses.
Tohono O'Odham Nation will also receive a separate grant from the Justice Department's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation for more than $570,000 to enhance their community policing strategies.
"As chairman of the City Council Public Safety Subcommittee, one of my primary focuses is the continued fortification of our police department," said Councilman Michael Nowakowski. "While budgets remain tight, this COPS grant allows Chief Garcia to continue growing his mission of community-based policing to ensure Phoenix remains a safe place to raise our families."
"This is a great day for the residents of Phoenix as we are now able to hire 15 additional Police officers to serve and protect our neighborhoods," said Councilman Daniel Valenuzela. "Each year, since taking office, I have traveled to advocate on behalf of the people of Phoenix for federal funding to strengthen our public safety efforts. It is humbling to know that we received one of the largest grants this year, along with a micro grant to protect businesses from criminal activity. This level of investment is a strong show of support from the COPS office, and a blessing for our community. I am confident we will have great success stories to share when we return to D.C. next year."
The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides salaries and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and community policing plans.
"The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in addressing their most critical needs," said Joshua Ederheimer, Acting Director of the COPS Office. "We have a successful history of partnering with law enforcement across Arizona, and look forward to collaborating on progressive public safety strategies that could assist the entire field of policing."
The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.
Awards to law enforcement agencies in other parts of the country will be announced in the coming weeks. Additional information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program can be found on the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.