Friday, July 31, 2009

Funding for 54 new Police

It was my pleasure to announce this week that over $9 million in grants have been awarded to hire police in Missouri’s Fifth District. The grants come as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated $1 billion to fund the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers all across the country. Nationwide, the announcement will fund 4,699 officers for three years. Kansas City was awarded $8.3 million to hire 50 officers. Independence received $543,393 to hire 3 officers and Sugar Creek received $158,847 to hire one additional officer. Police departments receiving the grants will then be required to retain the grant-funded positions for a fourth year.

While I was mayor of Kansas City, I helped write the original Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants program with President Bill Clinton. After its passage, our nation experienced a significant drop in crime rates.

Almost 12 years ago, I remember standing with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Bill Clinton as he described the very first COPS program. The program encouraged mayors and police chiefs from around the nation to build a partnership with the federal government. I can tell you first-hand, the partnership really worked. This week’s announcement adds 50 more police to Kansas City’s streets at a time when they are desperately needed. To put that in perspective, in the first 10 years Kansas City was eligible for the COPS program we were able to hire 100 police officers. In other words, this is five times the number of officers we were ever able to hire in a single year before. As is always the case, a downturn in the economy requires cities to cut their budgets just as those same economic troubles lead to an increase in crime. This week’s award, and the cadet class that can be saved because of it, will go a long way toward making our streets safer.

The Recovery Act grants, will be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through the federal agency’s COPS Hiring Recovery Program. These funds will provide much needed financial support to state, local and tribal governments, and will help the nation’s law enforcement agencies add and retain the workforce needed to fight crime more effectively through community policing. The Department of Justice received over 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions, representing a total of $8.3 billion in requested funding