July 28, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $694,000 of Economic Recovery Act Funding Coming to Utica Police Department to Hire or Rehire 4 Police Officers; Funds Will Ensure Safer Streets

With Recession Hurting Town and City Budgets Across the Mohawk Valley, COPS Program Will Keep More Cops on the Beat and Enhance Safety Across the Region

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that $694,860 in Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants will be awarded to the Utica Police Department. The funding, coming through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will support the hiring or rehiring of up to four police officers to ensure that the agencies have adequate staff through the economic downturn.

"Keeping cops on the beat is one of the best impacts of the Economic Recovery Act. These federal dollars are absolutely essential to budget-stressed local law enforcement in places like Utica," said Schumer. "In these tough economic times, where budgets are being stretched to the limit, these funds will save our law enforcement agencies from taking the dangerous step of eliminating officers from their ranks. I have worked continuously for stimulus funding to keep cops on the streets, and will continue to fight for more resources to keep our communities safe."

"Law enforcement agencies in New York have been squeezed by budget cuts, forced to lay off critical personnel, and reduce key crime prevention programs," said Senator Gillibrand. "These COPS grants will make our streets safe, neighborhoods secure, and create new jobs in law enforcement. Protecting our families and communities is the highest priority of our law enforcement professionals, and protecting jobs for New York is my highest priority."

"Since taking office, I've worked to propel public safety to a new level. That meant making real investments in policing," said Mayor Roefaro. "Whether tasers, new police cars, cameras in patrol cars, or hiring more officers, I've worked to invest resources so other resources would follow. Our recently enacted Gun Offender Registry and public safety center on James Street echoes the intent of COPS funding- to catalyze community policing.  There is no doubt that the federal government took notice of Utica's recent efforts, no doubt they knew what Utica has been doing, and the credit for that goes to Senator Schumer. He's not only just a phone call away, but just as I invest in public safety, he has invested his time to vigorously represent us. This $694,860 will allow us to continue to keep crime at its lowest level in 6 years, while engaging, really engaging, the people we protect."

The funding is being allocated as part of the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP), which will award a total of $1 billion in ARRA funding to 1,046 law enforcement agencies nationwide to either create or preserve officer positions. CHRP funding will ensure that state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies have the necessary resources to maintain their community policing capacity at a time when city and town budgets have threatened forces with painful cuts. CHRP 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.