Federal Grants Totaling Nearly $600,000 To Help 5 VT Communities Hire New Officers (COPS Grants)

Senator Patrick Leahy Monday announced that five rural Vermont law enforcement agencies will receive a total of nearly $600,000 to help hire new officers through the Department of Justice COPS Hiring Program. The program covers a large portion of the costs that communities face when adding officers to their ranks, thereby supporting the goals of community policing.

“These funds are critical to small law enforcement agencies that would otherwise find it too costly to bring a new officer on board,” said Leahy, a longtime champion of the program who continues to support its funding through his role as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “With the increase in opioid abuse and its inherent problems, our law enforcement agencies and officers are stretched to their limits. This is the type of federal spending that just makes common sense.”

The funding provides up to 75 percent of the entry-level salaries and benefits of full-time officers over a three-year period, with a required 25 percent local match. Each of the five Vermont grants will allow the respective departments to hire one new officer.

The FY 2017 grants include:

  • Essex County Sheriff’s Department - $113,169
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Department - $93,583
  • Hardwick Police Department - $125,000
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Department - $125,000
  • Village of Winhall Police Department - $125,000

In the case of Franklin County, the new funding will help hire a School Resource Officer in Fairfax for grades K-12, according to Franklin County Sheriff Robert Norris.

Leahy said he was pleased that this year’s grant awards would be helping some of the state’s most rural populations, noting, “Our small law enforcement agencies are being asked to do more every day to meet the needs of their communities.  We know the challenges of illegal drug use hit our small towns just as they do our larger cities, and our law enforcement partners need  resources to fight this epidemic.”            

Since the program was signed into law in 1994, COPS Hiring grants have supported hiring more than 130,000 law enforcement officers throughout the country.  Last year the Burlington Police Department received a $625,000 COPS Hiring grant to help the city hire five additional officers over a three-year period. 

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