The Atlantic City Police Department received $1,875,000 in federal grant money from the Department of Justice as part of its Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, the offices of Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez announced on Monday, June 25.
It was one on nine New Jersey police departments that received over $9.4 million in COPS grant funding, the offices said. The grants will allow those departments receiving funding to hire or re-hire 60 full-time law enforcement officers, with one stipulation: For the first time, all new police officers hired with these funds must be military veterans with at least 180 days of active service since Sept. 11, 2001, the offices said. This doesn't apply to re-hires.
"These federal funds go directly to some of the New Jersey communities that need them most to put officers back on the job," Lautenberg said. "As shrinking budgets force many New Jersey communities to cut funding for first responders, federal support for police departments has never been more important. These grants will ensure our nation's veterans are hired for quality jobs and that they are able to use their unique skills and experiences to keep our communities safe."
Lautenberg, who serves on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee which funds the COPS program, is an army veteran.
"Nothing is more important than keeping our communities and residents safe and that's why I fought so hard to fund the COPS Program," Menendez said. "Communities all across the country have laid off police officers because of dwindling local resources and it's unfortunate that Republicans in Congress have still refused to work with us to put police officers back on the job. With this funding, New Jersey will be able to put 60 police officers back on the beat, and every dollar we can provide will bolster their community policing efforts."
The COPS grant program provides federal resources so that law enforcement agencies can hire officers, acquire new technologies and equipment, and promote innovative approaches to solving crime, the offices said. According to the offices, the program has put more than 120,000 police officers on the beat across the nation since 1995. New Jersey has received more than $400 million since the program's inception, which has funded more than 5,000 officers, according to the offices.
Other police departments receiving funding include:
Bayonne - $1,125,000; Bridgeton - $375,000; Haledon - $121,464; Hamilton - $512,042; Jersey City - $1,875,000; Newfield - $125,000; Trenton - $3,018,720; and Wildwood - $432,232.