The city is receiving $2.82 million in federal grant money to hire 15 new police officers, announced federal officials on Monday afternoon.
“This essential federal funding puts 15 additional police officers on the streets of Paterson at a time when budgetary constraints make it very difficult for cities to keep police departments fully staffed,” Rep. Bill Pascrell, former mayor of Paterson, said.
The grant will cover salaries and benefits for the 15 police officers for the first three years of employment.
The grant money is coming from the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Office and is part of the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) which promotes community policing. Pascrell said the grant program was created to assist municipalities in ensuring their police forces are fully staffed, well trained, and understand the communities they serve.
“These grants are critically important to expanding community policing and keeping our neighborhoods safe,” said senator Bob Menendez. “We have an obligation to support our local police and to protect our residents, and that’s exactly why I’ll continue to fight to make sure New Jersey’s police departments have the resources they need to hire new officers and get the job done.”
Pascrell wrote a letter of support for the grant during the application process. The congressman also supported a $1.67 million CHP award for the city in 2013 which helped hire 10 new police officers.
“As communities across the nation are forced to make tough budget decisions, this federal grant will bolster public safety by helping ensure New Jersey police departments are adequately staffed,” said senator Corey Booker.
The grant provides 75-percent of funding for entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for a newly-hired full-time officer or for rehired officer laid off or scheduled to be laid off on a future date as a result of budget cuts.
Paterson has 380 police officers. In 2011, the city had almost 500 police officers, according to government records.