The federal government is handing out $6.5million in grant funding this year to create police jobs at law enforcement agencies throughout the Central Valley, including $1million to fund eight personnel positions at the Modesto Police Department.
Grants from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program also included funding for one position each at three police departments in Merced County. Atwater police received $369,931, Dos Palos received $123,368 and Gustine received $202,489, the U.S attorney’s office in Sacramento announced Tuesday.
“These grants show the U.S. Department of Justice’s commitment to programs that offer innovative and comprehensive approaches to public safety and justice,” U.S. Benjamin Attorney Wagner said in a news release. “The funds will provide timely relief to our law enforcement partners by putting police officers on the street in our communities.”
The Modesto police has not decided how it will use the funds. Heather Graves, a department spokeswoman, said the City Council still needs to approve receipt of the grant funding. She said some of the money might be used to pay for officers working at schools throughout the city, and that the department will release more details about the grant funding soon.
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Of the grants awarded to California cities and counties, almost half went to police agencies in the Central Valley from Modoc County to Kern County. The program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers.
The program provides salaries and benefits for each officer or deputy for three years. Grantees were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates and community policing plans.
Since 1995, the program has awarded more than $14billion to advance community policing. Grants have been awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund about 125,000 officers.
Additional information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program can be found at www.cops.usdoj.gov.