Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that $2.5 million in Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants will be awarded to the Yonkers Police Department. The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) funding will support the hiring or rehiring of up to fifteen police officers to ensure that the agency has adequate staff for vital community programs like Project SNUG, Peacekeepers, Operation Ceasefire, and other programs. A unique change for the 2012 program requires that all new officers hired under the grant must be military veterans that have served at least 180 days of active military service, any part of which occurred on or after September 11, 2001.
“Getting our cops back on the beat in budget stressed communities like Yonkers means safer streets and a stronger local economy. Also, by hiring veterans for these positions we are ensuring a place for our heroes as they return home,” said Senator Schumer. “These funds will save the Yonkers Police Department from eliminating officers from their ranks, and instead give them the funding to hire 15 officers – officers who are vets. I have worked hard to protect COPS funding so that communities like Yonkers can secure investments like this to keep our streets safe.”
“Law enforcement agencies across New York have been squeezed by budget cuts, forced to lay off critical personnel, and reduce key crime prevention programs,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This grant will help keep cops on the beat to keep our streets safe and our neighborhoods secure. Protecting our families and communities is the highest priority of our law enforcement professionals, and protecting jobs for New York is my highest priority.”
The funding is being allocated as part of the COPS Hiring Program (CHP), which will award a total of $111 million in funding to 221 law enforcement agencies nationwide to either create or preserve officer positions. CHP funding will ensure that state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies have the necessary resources to maintain their community policing capacity. CHP grants fully fund entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officers, and can fund officers recently laid off or scheduled to be laid off due to local budget cuts.
The Cops Hiring Program provides funding to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. CHP grants go directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Attorney General Holder appears below. A copy of Senator Gillibrand’s letter in support of the Yonkers Police Department is attached.
March 6, 2012
The Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General:
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by The City of Yonkers for funding under the COPS Hiring Grant Program. Such funding will enable the City of Yonkers to hire full-time sworn law enforcement officers.
The City of Yonkers police department has a strong commitment to community policing and deploys a myriad of community based programs and strategies to address crime, quality of life and other community issues and concerns including the Project SNUG, Peacekeepers, operation Ceasefire, Youth Police Initiative, and Truancy Reduction Program. Due to drastic budget cuts during the last few years the department has had to eliminate several units including the Burglary Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, and DARE Unit. Currently the Yonkers Police Department is at its lowest manning levels since 2001.
With funding, City of Yonkers will be able to hire full-time sworn law enforcement officers. Specifically, the City of Yonkers will hire a maximum of twenty-five law enforcement offers for a thirty-six month period. This Grant will help improve department efficiency and help keep residents of the community safe. I applaud the City of Yonkers for its foresight, and I sincerely hope that the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration. If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator