U.S. Department Of Justice Gives $1.7m To City To Fund Positions Over A Three-Year Period
By Jesse Rifkin
August 10, 2012
Thanks to a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Hartford will be able to retain 12 police officers about to complete training at the state police academy.
Celebrating the grant at a press conference Thursday were U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. John Larson, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, Acting Police Chief James Rovella, and city council President Shawn Wooden.
Blumenthal highlighted the employment value in addition to the policing value.
"Without this money, graduates of the police academy this September would not have jobs, including some veterans," noted Blumenthal. "This ought to send a message nationwide: Cops on the streets are an effective strategy.
"This is a jobs program for our veterans and a public safety program for the people of Connecticut."
Larson called the funds a step in the right direction, especially given the fiscal austerity trumpeted by many conservative members of Congress.
"There is all this talk about tax cuts in Washington," Larson said. "What they don't say is that tax cuts in Washington became police layoffs in our cities and our communities."
In his remarks, Segarra highlighted other recent positive developments.
"The grant continues Hartford's good news," said Segarra, "from the announcement Tuesday of a 40 percent reduction in gun-related homicides thanks to the shooting task force, to last month when we received the largest federal fire agency grant in state history."
Segarra was referring to the July 1 award of SAFER funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will allow the Hartford Fire Department to hire 25 employees.
The full police grant amount, $1,745,037, was announced June 26 after a March 20 application. The money comes from the Justice Department's COPS Program, short for Community Oriented Policing Services. The 12 officer positions will be funded over a three-year period.
Connecticut statewide received $4.7 million. The other police departments were Waterbury with $1.75 million for 14 new military veteran hires, New Haven with $750,000 for six new military veteran hires, and Norwich with $500,000 for four military veteran hires. (Hartford's money was targeted for rehires scheduled for layoffs, not new hires.)
Nationally, 800 grants were awarded totaling $111,244,170, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Hartford received half of the city's original proposal, which sought enough funds to retain 23 recruits.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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