Several local police departments will soon have more backup and federal resources thanks to a new round of federal COPS grants totaling over $3.3 million that is being awarded to local law enforcement agencies across Rhode Island.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who helped make the funds available through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, says the federal grants will allow three local police departments to hire additional officers, support school violence prevention, and invest in the implementation of crisis intervention teams.
“This federal investment will help put more cops on the beat to reduce crime and enhance public safety. It also invests in improving school safety and data-driven de-escalation programs to prevent violence in our communities. Our police officers do an outstanding job and it’s important that the federal government be a reliable partner when it comes to ensuring local police departments have the resources and staffing they need to keep people safe,” said Reed, who helped create the COPS program in the 1990s.
Under the COPS grant program, local police departments can use the federal funding to help pay for hiring and retaining officers or for new equipment.
This round of federal COPS grants includes:
$2.5 million for the Providence Police Department to hire twenty police officers;
$400,000 to the South Kingstown Police Department to implement Crisis Intervention Teams;
$220,514 to fund a Providence Police Department De-Escalation Program;
$132,518 to the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission to enhance existing law enforcement accreditation entities; and
$67,500 to fund a Tiverton Police Department School Violence Prevention Program.
Created in 1994, the COPS program has advanced community-oriented policing nationwide, providing over 13,000 grants to state, local, territorial and Tribal law enforcement agencies. This includes the cops hiring program (CHP), the community policing development program (CPD), and the school violence prevention program (SVPP).
CHP grants provide critical funding to support entry-level career law enforcement officer in an effort to preserve jobs while increasing community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. This year, the Providence Police Department was awarded $2.5 million to help with the hiring of twenty additional police officers. CHP grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years 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.
CPD program funds are used to develop the capacity of law enforcement to implement community policing by providing guidance on promising practices through the development and testing of innovative strategies; building knowledge about effective practices and outcomes; and supporting new, creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities. Rhode Island was the recipient of three CPD awards this year to help implement Crisis Intervention Teams in South Kingstown; fund a Providence Police Department De-Escalation Program; and help the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission enhance the accreditation process for law enforcement entities to meet professional standards.
SVPP provides funding to school districts, state and local governments, and other public agencies to improve safety and security at school and on school grounds. The Tiverton Police Department won a $67,500 SVPP award to enhance school safety efforts.
A champion of the COPS program, Senator Reed helped include $324 million for COPS CHP grants, $45 million for CPD, and $53 million for SVPP in the FY 2023 Appropriations law.
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