DOJ Awards Almost $2 Million For Community Policing In Northern Florida

Department Of Justice Awards Almost $2 Million For Community Policing In Northern Florida

(STL.News) – Lawrence Keefe, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of
Florida, today announced that three local law enforcement agencies in the district will share in
almost $2 million in federal grants to fund additional deputies and officers to keep their
communities safe.  The grants, through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented
Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP), will provide additional personnel in
Jefferson and Walton counties and the City of Fort Walton Beach.

The three agencies are among 26 in Florida and 596 around the nation to receive funding awards,
part of are a portion of $51 million in grants announced in May as part of the Department of
Justice’s Operation Relentless Pursuit.

“Sheriff’s offices and police departments across the Northern District of Florida are at the heart
of keeping our communities safe, and these grants will make a meaningful difference in helping them
protect and serve the good people of their cities and counties,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said.

The grants announced by Keefe are:
• $329,595 to the Fort Walton Beach Police Department to fund 3 law enforcement positions
• $118,838 to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to fund 1 law enforcement position
• $1,500,000 to the Walton County Sheriff’s Department to fund12 law enforcement positions

“The Department of Justice is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great
nation with needed resources, tools, and support. The funding announced today will bolster their
ranks and contribute to expanding community policing efforts nationwide,” said Attorney General
William P. Barr. “A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put
their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their
communities.”

The COPS Hiring Program is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public
safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law
enforcement officers.  In addition to providing financial support for hiring, the program provides
funding to state and local law enforcement to enhance local community policing strategies and
tactics.  In a changing economic climate, this funding helps law enforcement agencies maintain
sufficient sworn personnel levels to promote safe communities.  Funding through this program had
been on hold since the spring of 2018 due to a nationwide injunction that was lifted earlier this
year.

COPS Hiring Program applicants were required to identify a specific crime and disorder problem
focus area and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches to
that problem focus area.  Of the awards announced today, 43% will focus on violent crime, while the
remainder of the awards will focus on a variety of issues including school-based policing to fund
school resource officer positions, building trust and respect, and opioid education, prevention,
and intervention.  The COPS Office received nearly 1,100 applications requesting more than 4,000 law
enforcement positions.

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