Dept. of Justice awards city Community Oriented Policing grant
The Department of Justice is issuing Pittsburgh $1.875 million to hire 15 new community oriented police officers starting in 2015.
“This grant recognizes, like I do, that improving relations between police and our neighborhoods is key to making our city safe and thriving for everyone,” Mayor William Peduto said. “This funding provides another tool for our new police chief to bring the problem solving methods afforded by community oriented policing to the Pittsburgh neighborhoods that need them most.”
The Bureau of Police expects to assign the 15 officers from the next class of recruits to Zone 5, covering the city’s eastern neighborhoods. These new recruits will replace the 13 new officers who are currently on foot patrols in Zone 5.
“This grant award comes at a time when we are conducting an analysis of our workforce to determine how we can better deploy our personnel and enhance our community oriented policing efforts,” Acting Police Chief Cameron McLay said. “This will help strengthen community-police relations.”
The Justice Department’s COPS program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The latest funding for program, announced recently, provides $124 million to 215 law enforcement agencies to hire 950 officers.
The program provides up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of full-time officers for a three-year grant period, with a minimum 25 percent local cash match requirement. Pittsburgh also won COPS grants in in 2010 and 2012.
Community oriented policing is one facet of overall support Mayor Peduto is seeking to provide to residents of neighborhoods citywide.
He created the city’s first Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment to work daily on business, housing, education, and faith-based and nonprofit issues in struggling neighborhoods. Last week it won a $50,000 grant to provide more afterschool and summer meals to schoolchildren, and this summer won a $200,000 grant to enroll children and youth in affordable health care plans.