Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney announced that the City of Newburgh, whose police force has declined from 125 officers in 2000 to a little under 80 officers today despite a crime rate that is among the highest in the nation, will receive $500,000 in federal funds to hire four additional police officers for its force. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). In July, Schumer stood at the City of Newburgh police department and pledged his support for Newburgh’s application to the CHP. Gillibrand and Maloney also weighed in with letters of support to Attorney General Eric Holder. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney said that adding four new cops will make a major difference since the City has lost so many cops over the years and has indicated it does not have enough cops on patrol. These four officers are expected to predominantly be assigned to foot patrol and help the police force focus more on community policing.
“Back in July, I joined with Newburgh cops to urge the Department of Justice to provide the funding Newburgh needed to hire four new officers, the maximum it is allowed under current program guidelines, and it is great news that the Attorney General has recognized the need and awarded the funding,” said Senator Schumer, the author of the original legislation that established the CHP. “These four new officers will soon be on the beat and they will be able to make a huge difference in keeping more people safe throughout the community. Newburgh needs all the help it can get to lower crime, and this investment in new officers will go a long way.”
“This is a great investment for Newburgh’s Police Department and for the community,” said Senator Gillibrand, who wrote a letter to DOJ in July in support of the application. “Hiring more trained police officers will help improve public safety and better enable the police department to protect and serve the community; creating a better environment for families in the area. This funding is much needed to help tackle crime and make their streets safer and I will continue to push to ensure Newburgh is able to get more resources to recoup their loss of police officers and to help combat crime.”
“After working closely with the Newburgh Police Department and advocating directly to the Department of Justice for over a year, we secured this strategic investment to allow Newburgh to hire four new police officers to patrol our streets – this doesn’t just create jobs, it will protect our families and help our community prosper,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “I opened my office down the street in Newburgh because I know how important it is to get Newburgh right, which means bringing more resources and law enforcement to our neighborhoods to keep our communities safe.”
“I am deeply appreciative of all the efforts by Congressman Maloney, Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer for supporting this grant and helping the City of Newburgh create more safety for its citizens by allowing us to hire four more police officers. Once again, teamwork and collaboration have moved us forward in revitalizing this City,” said Judy Kennedy, Mayor, Newburgh.
According to 2013 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Newburgh residents have a 1 in 16 chance of being a victim of a violent crime or property crime in a given year, a rate that is significantly higher than the majority of U.S. cities, large and small. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, between August 2009 and March 2012, over 106 Bloods and Latin Kings gang members from Newburgh were caught and tried in New York courts. Altogether in 2012 – the last year where comprehensive statistics could be found – there were 5 murders, 19 rapes, 307 instances of aggravated assault, 62 stolen vehicles and 36 separate shooting incidents that resulted in 43 people being shot. All of these numbers were up from 2011, showing that crime continues to be a problem in Newburgh, and that it continues to get worse.
In total, the Newburgh police force has 77 uniformed officers, which is nowhere near the optimal number for the city since most are often dealing with emergencies or paperwork backlogs. In particular, the city struggles to have enough cops available to conduct foot patrol and build up positive relations with the community, a crucial element for successful policing. These four officers are expected to predominantly be assigned to foot patrol and help the police force focus more on community policing. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney said that these four officers will be able to make an immense difference in the community. Now that Newburgh’s application has been approved, the City will receive the funding it needs to keep these four officers on the beat for at least three years.
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) is a competitive grant program that provides funding for cities like Newburgh to hire new police officers, rehire recently laid-off officers, or maintain officers scheduled to be laid-off. Specifically, the program gives additional consideration to applicants that are looking to hire police officers to focus on select community policing issues as well as applicants that demonstrate a clear goal of reducing violent crime.
Full text of the Senators’ letters is available upon request.