DoJ Releases $500 Million for Hiring Law Enforcement Officers, School Safety and Combating Illicit Drugs

The Justice Department announced on February 4 that the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has released over $500 million in grant solicitations under the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) and several other grant programs that advance community policing, keep school students safe and promote the health and safety of the United States law enforcement officers.

“There is no more noble a profession than serving as a law enforcement officer and putting your life on the line to protect your community. Our police officers fight an unrelenting fight, and it is more important than ever to support them,” said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “This funding will provide critical support to state, local, and tribal agencies so that they can bolster their ranks and reinforce community policing strategies and programs, and further our commitment to reducing violent crime.”

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 keep their communities safe. Funding through this program had been on hold since the spring of 2018 due to a nationwide injunction, which was recently lifted.

The 2020 Community Policing Development Program will fund projects related to a Law Enforcement Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Program Toolkit; Recruiting the Next Generation of Officers and Deputies; Promising Practices in Law Enforcement Victim Support; Rural Law Enforcement Training Center; and Managing High-Risk Law Enforcement Vehicular Pursuits.  This grant program provides guidance on promising practices through the development and testing of innovative strategies; building knowledge about effective practices and outcomes; and supporting new, creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities.

The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program provides funding to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement through training and technical assistance, demonstration projects, and implementation of promising practices related to peer mentoring mental health and wellness programs. This year’s program will fund projects related to Peer Support Implementation Projects and a National Peer Support Program for Small and Rural Agencies.

The Preparing for Active Shooter Situations Program provides funding for scenario-based training that prepares officers and other first responders to safely and effectively handle active-shooter and other violent threats. This year’s program will train at least 20,000 first responders through scenario-based, multi-disciplinary training classes.

The COPS Office Anti-Heroin Task Force Program advances public safety by providing funds directly to state law enforcement to locate and investigate illicit activities through statewide collaboration related to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.

The COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program is designed to investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. Funding must be used to locate or investigate illicit activities such as precursor diversion, laboratories, or methamphetamine traffickers.

The STOP School Violence Prevention Program provides funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds in the grantees’ jurisdictions through evidence-based school safety programs.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 130,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance.

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