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Feds Give $1.8 Million For Community Oriented Policing

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   U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) funding awards this week, including a $1,838,023 award to the Virgin Islands Police Department for 15 additional law enforcement positions. Over $107 million will be awarded nationally, through the COPS Hiring Program (CHP).

“The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in addressing their most critical public safety issues,” said Ronald L. Davis, Director of the COPS Office. “These grants are not simply about putting more officers on the street, they are about expanding the capacity of law enforcement agencies to engage in community policing.”

CHP provides grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides salaries and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years.

“These grants demonstrate the U.S. Department of Justice’s and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to ensuring public safety by getting more officers on the streets,” Chief U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands District Ronald Sharpe said. “Moreover, by having these officers engage in community policing, the community is assured that progressive steps, such as ending excessive use of force and promoting accountability systems, are being taken to build trust between law enforcement officers and the community.”

Sharpe said that when there is trust between law enforcement officers and the community, both victims and witnesses are more likely to provide law enforcement with information needed to resolve crimes and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

Priority consideration for the grants was given this year to agencies that selected any of the Building Trust focus areas or School Based Policing through School Resource Officers. All applicants were encouraged to refer to the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing for suggested actions to incorporate into their proposed community policing strategy.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has invested over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 127,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledgeresource products including publications, training, and technical assistance. For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2015 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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