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Higgins: More than $3 million for local law enforcement and public safety


Fri, Nov 3rd 2023 02:40 pm

Federal COPS grants support additional police officers, school safety, crisis intervention

Congressman Brian Higgins announced federal grants totaling $3,134,976 awarded to local law enforcement agencies across Western New York. Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and awarded through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, grants will allow local police departments to hire additional officers, support school violence prevention, and invest in the implementation of crisis intervention teams.

“Protecting public safety and preventing violence is always a priority in Western New York,” Higgins said. “Federal funding from the COPS program has long supported local law enforcement and helped to address public safety concerns. Grants awarded this year will build on these ongoing efforts in our towns and cities to keep students and families safe.”

Created in 1994, the COPS program has advanced community-oriented policing nationwide, providing over 13,000 grants to state, local, territorial and Tribal law enforcement agencies. This includes the cops hiring program (CHP), the school violence prevention program (SVPP), and the community policing development program (CPD).

CHP grants provide critical funding to support entry-level career law enforcement officers in an effort to preserve jobs while increasing community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. This year, the Town of Cheektowaga was awarded $375,000 to hire three additional police officers, the City of Niagara Falls was awarded $1,422,296 to hire eight new officers, and Niagara County was awarded $625,000 to support five new members of the Sheriff’s Office. Nationwide, nearly $217 million was awarded to 394 agencies to hire 1,730 new entry-level officers.

SVPP provides funding to school districts, state and local governments, and other public agencies to improve safety and security at school and on school grounds. This year, Tonawanda City School District was awarded a $500,000 grant to support safety efforts across its campuses. Across the country, 206 grants totaling $73.6 million were awarded in 2023.

CPD provides support for crisis intervention teams, de-escalation training, accreditation efforts, and innovative community policing strategies. In 2023, the Town of West Seneca was awarded $212,680 toward implementing crisis intervention teams within the community. This year, the program has awarded about $43.6 million toward these efforts in communities across the U.S.

Grants awarded through the COPS program build on $4.4 billion already provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs to support state, local and Tribal public safety and community justice activities. More than 1 billion of those funds are specifically designed to reduce crime and violence, and support law enforcement. An additional $109 million supports school violence prevention and research.

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