U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today announced that the City of Trenton has received a $3,018,720 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant that will enable it to hire or rehire 12 police officers.
"I was pleased to work with the Trenton Police Department and the Justice Department to secure these funds," Holt said. "Much work remains to be done, but this represents a major step toward putting cops back on the beat in Trenton."
In September 2011, Holt wrote to the COPS Office at the Department of Justice in support of Trenton's grant application. "[Funding cuts] leave the department at staffing levels not seen in the city since 1932," Holt wrote. "I have been contacted by many local leaders who have shared their grave concerns that the severity of the cuts to the Trenton police force will lead to an increase in violent crime in our capital city, placing the remaining officers and the public at increased risk. I share their concerns."
Holt also spoke directly to COPS officials on several occasions to highlight the importance of these funds to Trenton, and in February he spoke on the U.S. House floor about the impact of Trenton's police layoffs.
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) provides funding to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. CHP grants go directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
This year's CHP grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years (36 months) for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions (including filling existing unfunded vacancies) or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts. Any additional costs above the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits, up to $125,000, are the responsibility of the grantee agency.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Holt has been a strong supporter of the COPS program. Last month, he helped lead an effort to increase COPS funding by $94 million in the next fiscal year. Last year, Holt opposed a Republican effort to abolish COPS.
"Today's good news is possible only because the House majority failed in its effort to eliminate the COPS program last year," Holt added. "Let's never forget that radical efforts to eliminate government services have real consequences for public safety."