U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today joined Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-08), Passaic Mayor Dr. Alex Blanco, Passaic Police Chief Richard Diaz, and members of the Passaic Police Department to announce nearly $233,000 in public safety grants for Passaic, Clifton, and Paterson police departments. This funding, which was awarded through the Department of Justice's Byrne JAG Grant Program, will go towards the purchasing of law enforcement related equipment.
"I think we can all agree that the safety of our families and communities comes first," said Menendez. "This funding will make a tremendous difference to the police departments in these communities who are working every day to keep our cities safe. With updated tools, the men and women we count on to protect us will be better equipped to carry out their jobs effectively and safely. That's why I will continue to fight to ensure the federal government upholds its commitment to our law enforcement officers."
"Crime exists in good economic times and bad, and our number one responsibility as public servants is to keep the people we represent safe," said Pascrell, the Co-Chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus. "This grant is further proof that federal government is fully committed to ensuring that Passaic County police departments have the resources needed to keep their residents safe and secure."
"I applaud the work of Senator Bob Menendez and local Congressman Bill Pascrell; Passaic City couldn't have better representatives fighting for our residents," said Mayor Blanco. "This grant will fund equipment that will assist our brave police officers in their work to keep our community safe, while having no impact on our local budget."
"These grants have been instrumental in ensuring the Police Department is able to acquire the essential equipment, so that the officers can continue to provide the citizens of Passaic with the highest level of safety and security," said Passaic Police Chief Richard Diaz. "This will also allow the department to operate more efficiently and effectively. I am personally thankful to all those who are committed to providing their support for public safety."
Passaic City will utilize the entire award ($56,744.10) to purchase a new police vehicle(s) complete with sirens, lights, cages, police radio's, shotgun mounts, computers and other technology equipment that may be required by the department.
Paterson City will utilize the entire award ($134,910.90) to purchase law enforcement equipment for their Emergency Response Team, i.e. specialized tools, holsters, flashlights, technology equipment, computers and specialized cameras. The existing equipment is antiquated and in need of replacement. The new equipment will enhance the Department's ability to prevent crime and respond to incidents in the community.
Clifton City will utilize the entire award ($17,816.40) to upgrade their technology department including, but not limited to, email system upgrades, computers and other technological equipment the department needs to upgrade.
Senator Menendez led the fight for increases in federal funding for our first responders. Last year, he led the effort to fund the COPS Hiring and Byrne JAG programs which provide federal funds to local law enforcement. His efforts helped to secure $166 million in the final Justice Department spending bill for the COPS Hiring Program. Under this COPS Hiring Program, New Jersey police departments received $20.8 million which they used to hire 78 police officers in 2011. He also led the fight to secure additional funding for the Byrne JAG Program, securing $470 million for the program. This year, Senator Menendez and 27 fellow Senators requested $257.1 million for the COPS Hiring Program and $430 million for Byrne JAG Program.