The Philadelphia Police Department avoided having to lay off more than 700 police officers after state lawmakers approved a 1-percent raise on the Philadelphia sales tax and a two-year city pension deferment plan earlier this month.
But the Philadelphia Police also have another reason to celebrate. Philadelphia will receive $10.9 million over the next three years to hire 50 police officers as part of a series of grants by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The federal government announced in July that it was awarding $1 billion in Recovery Act grants to more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies across the country for the purpose of hiring or re-hiring 4,699 police officers.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in July that the grants were awarded to cities based on “crime rate, financial need and community policing activities.”
He added that police departments could use the funds to hire new officers or re-hire officers who are scheduled to be laid off as a result of local budget cuts.
The grants are being awarded through the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Recovery Program.
Holder announced that the government received applications for funding from more than 7,000 cities and towns across the United States.
Pennsylvania was awarded a grant of $20.2 million over the next three years, but Philadelphia alone will receive more than half of those funds.
Although some U.S. cities — including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami — received larger grants than Philadelphia, no city received grant money to hire more than 50 officers.
Philadelphia Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said these new officers could be trained and out on the streets as early as next summer.
He added that as soon as the funds are released and approval from the mayor is received, the Philadelphia Police Department will begin the process of hiring these new officers.
“The soonest we have the ability … we’re going to fulfill the grant and utilize it,” Vanore said. “If we’re able to get a class in soon, we’ll have them as a resource come the summertime of next year when we’ll need them the most.”
Although it is still unknown where these officers will be concentrated, Vanore said they will most likely be placed in areas of the city that have had the most problems over the past year.
“Now that we have our budget in place and the commissioner has a lot of resources to utilize, he can take a look and see when we can utilize that funding and allocate these people,” Vanore said.Comments powered by Disqus
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