Competitive award program grants funds to the tribe for hiring of law enforcement officers.
By: Lani Hansen, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– The Department of Justice announced nearly $400 million in grant funding through the Department’s Office of community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP) on June 3 and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is set to receive $543,496.
“This is a hiring grant we applied for and we were given the opportunity to get this grant,” MCN Lighthorse Chief of Police Robert Hawkins said.
The Attorney General announced funding awards to 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which allows those agencies to hire 2,273 additional full-time law enforcement professionals.
“The plan is we are allowed to hire five new officers,” Chief Hawkins said. “It’s a three year grant which will be funded by the Department of Justice, but after the three years is up the Nation will take over.”
According to Chief Hawkins, after three years being funded by DOJ the grant will then have to go through council for approval for additional funding for these positions by the Nation. Lighthorse is looking at building their Special Operations Program with this grant.
The awards are inclusive of the $51 million announced in May as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit.
“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,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “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, CHP provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to enhance local community policing strategies and tactics. In a changing economic climate, CHP 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.
CHP 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.
Forty-three percent of the awards announced today 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.