Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) and Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar announced that the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program has awarded a grant to the Webb County Sheriff's Office in the amount of $602,321. This grant will support the hiring of five new deputies, who, according to the terms of the grant, must be military veterans.
"The COPS Hiring Program provides our local law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to protect our communities," Congressman Cuellar said. "This funding will not only increase community safety and crime prevention, but also play the important role of ensuring that our military veterans are kept in the workforce. I congratulate Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar for his leadership in securing the grant."
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) provides law enforcement agencies grants to hire new or rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase community policing and crime prevention. In 2010, the City of Laredo received a $4.6 million COPS grant to hire 22 law enforcement officers. A unique change for the 2012 program requires that all new officers hired must be military veterans who have served at least 180 days of active military service on or after September 11, 2001.
"The COPS Grant is a true testament that our leaders in Washington are listening," stated Sheriff Martin Cuellar. "When we took our trip to Washington we visited with a purpose, with border security for Webb County as a priority on our agenda. We introduced our initiative of "Hire a Vet -- Secure Our Borders,' and leaders such as Janet Napolitano Secretary of Homeland Security and many others allowed us to voice our concerns and they responded. I thank our Congressman Henry Cuellar for assisting this initiative not only for Webb County but for law enforcement agencies across South Texas. I hope that in the near future, once the COPS grant is fully operational, we can begin a second phase of the grant which would consist of hiring veterans who return home facing physical disabilities. These veterans have been trained by the country's finest and are disciplined; they would be an asset to monitor a virtual fence line (via video cameras) set up along the border to detect any criminal activity."
The CHP grant provides 75 percent funding for entry-level salaries and benefits for three years. The remaining $200,000 will come from forfeiture funds provided by Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar.