Wednesday, 06 October 2010 22:09
FLAGSTAFF, AZ -- Representative Ann Kirkpatrick today announced added support for local law enforcement through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The Congresswoman has worked hard to ensure Greater Arizona sees the benefits of the COPS initiative, and because of her efforts, the Eloy Police Department will be able to hire an additional officer to help keep local communities safe.
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) helps local law enforcement create and preserve jobs while helping to address our public safety needs. Rep. Kirkpatrick, a former prosecutor, has made it a priority to make sure District One's police departments have the resources they need to keep us safe. Last year, after a number of Arizona communities were denied funding, Rep. Kirkpatrick hosted a conference call in which she joined local law enforcement agencies in voicing concerns to COPS officials. She since continued this advocacy by personally meeting with COPS Director Bernard Melekian and exchanging a series of phone calls and letters pushing for more consideration for departments like those in Pinal County, which are shouldering the responsibility of dealing with the smugglers because of the federal government's failure to secure the border.
"Washington has not done nearly enough to strengthen security for our communities, and Greater Arizona law enforcement is picking up the slack. The COPS program provides support for our local police forces to help them do it," said Congresswoman Kirkpatrick. "With these resources, they will be able to do more to fight back against the drug cartels and human traffickers without forcing Arizona taxpayers to pay the full tab."
CHP assistance enables local police departments to provide a salary and benefits for three years to new employees or to rehire officers who have been laid off during the economic downturn. Because of this program, the Eloy Police Department will now be able to put an additional officer on the beat, helping to make up for staffing cuts that have been made during the continuing statewide budget shortfalls.
"We are grateful that Eloy will get some much-needed assistance through the COPS program," said Eloy Police Chief William Pitman. "Adding another officer to the rolls will better enable us to respond to crime in our rural area, whether it's caused by Mexican cartels or just bad apples in our communities. Rep. Kirkpatrick's dedication to law enforcement is continuing to show results."
The COPS Hiring Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, is extremely competitive and received over 4,590 applications in 2010 alone.
Since it began in 1995, the CHP has resulted in the hiring of more than 117,000 police officers nationwide. Over 63 law enforcement agencies in Greater Arizona have already benefitted from the program, and COPS assistance has enabled local law enforcement to put nearly 500 new sworn officers on our streets. Rep. Kirkpatrick has helped push bills through the House that would bring improvements to the program.