Today, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department was informed that it will receive $8.36 million to hire up to 50 police officers from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program.
“This is an incredible relief,” Chief Corwin said. “We can now retain the 28 recruits who are set to graduate from the Police Academy on August 6 and hire more officers beyond that.”
The grant funds the pay and benefits of 50 officers for three years, with the Department agreeing to retain those officers after the grant expires. Only a few other cities in the country received their full request for funding for 50 officers.
Vice President Joe Biden announced the $1 billion in grant awards this morning. They come from the federal stimulus bill to create and/or preserve nearly 5,000 law enforcement positions. Nearly 7,300 applications requesting more than 39,000 officers and $8.3 billion in funds were submitted to the COPS (Community-Oriented Policing Services) Office of the U.S. Department of Justice. Up to $1 billion in grant funding was appropriated for this initiative through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“I’m very pleased the Department of Justice recognized Kansas City’s need to keep law enforcement officers on the street,” Chief Corwin said. “Crime rates and response times have fallen dramatically in recent years in response to a larger police force, and we want to continue to move forward.”
To make up for an $85 million total shortfall in the city budget, the Kansas City Council cut $15 million from the police department budget. This prompted KCPD to implement a hiring freeze and offer early retirement incentives, which reduced the force by 61 officers from this point last year.
For more information, check out the COPS Web site.