Middletown police was one of 17 Ohio law enforcement agencies to receive a piece of $18 million in funding through the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services program that could enable the hiring of 134 full-time officers across the state.
David M. DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said the funding would assist these agencies with their community policing efforts. The 15 local agencies will receive more than $16 million while the two state agencies will receive approximately $2 million.
“Looking over this list, I see cities, counties and villages committed to hiring new officers to build trust with the people they serve,” DeVillers said. “We will help these agencies continue to expand their community policing efforts.”
Applicants for the COPS Hiring Program 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. Fifty-seven percent of the awards nationwide will focus on issues including school-based policing to fund school resource officer positions, building trust and respect, and opioid education, prevention, and intervention. The rest will focus on violent crime.
Nationally, the COPS Office received nearly 1,100 applications requesting more than 4,000 law enforcement positions.
Middletown police Chief David Birk will be meeting with Acting City Manager Susan Cohen to discuss if the city will accept the $250,000 grant. He said the city was notified about the grant on Monday.
Birk said city is responsible for paying a percentage of the officers’ salary for the first three years with city being responsible for the officers’ salary and benefits in the fourth year.
My hope is that we can accept the grant,” Birk said. “We could do a lot of positive things in Middletown for COP duties and allow other officers to do more discretionary patrols.”
Middletown police has 68 officers, including the chief, and has three vacancies. He said a patrol officer’s test will be given at the end of June and another in July.
If city officials decide to accept the grant, it will be up to Middletown City Council to give final approval.
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