Leahy: Two Vermont Counties Net Police Hiring Grants

MONDAY (June 25) – Two Vermont counties have been awarded grants through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday.

The Essex and Franklin County Sheriff’s Departments have each received awards through the COPS program.  Grants authorized by the COPS Hiring program allow law enforcement agencies to hire or re-hire career officers.  The grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly hired officers, or for re-hired officers who have been laid off as a result of local budget cuts.

A unique change for the 2012 program requires that all new officers hired under the grant program must be military veterans who have served at least 180 days of active military service, any part of which must have occurred on or after September 11, 2001.

Leahy, a former prosecutor, said, “Keeping trained officers in circulation in our communities is a proven and effective way to help ensure citizens’ safety.  These grants will bolster the efforts of local police forces to retain full-time officers and reap the benefits of their years of experience.  The grants announced today are yet another great example of the importance of maintaining a strong partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.”

The Essex County Sheriff’s Department will receive $122,781 and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department will receive $125,000.  Vermont communities have received nearly $46 million in grants from the COPS program since 1994.  As of September 2011, more than 285 officers had been hired across Vermont through these grants. 

In recent years, Leahy – who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the COPS Program -- has worked to ensure that funding for the COPS program is sustained.  In 2009, Leahy successfully included $4 billion in the economic stimulus package for state and local law enforcement programs, including $1 billion for the COPS program.  He has chaired several hearings in Vermont to highlight the state’s successful, community-based approach to fighting crime.

In the past several years, COPS grants have been awarded to law enforcement departments in Barre City, Castleton, Hartford, Milton, Orange County, Pittsford, Rutland County, Vergennes, and Windsor.  The University of Vermont has also received a grant.

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