(The Center Square) – Three cities and one county in Iowa will receive federal funding to hire officers through this year’s Community Oriented Policing (COPS) hiring program.
the purpose of the program is to reduce crime and improve public safety by directly supporting community policing through the hiring of officers. Award selection factors included problem area of focus, local crime data and agency commitment to community policing, and demonstrated financial need.
The office granted waivers to some or all of the candidates’ local cash consideration due to the presence of “serious financial hardship,” the fact sheet says. The scholarships provide up to 75% of full-time officer approved salaries and benefits for 36 months. A local cash match of 25% is required, as well as all salaries and benefits above entry level. Rewards should be in addition to — not a substitute for — local or state funding for hiring agents. After three years of federal funding, recipients must maintain the positions for at least one year within their budget, with state or local funds, in addition to the positions they would have held had they not received the price.
Union County and the towns of Dysart, Norwalk and Sheldon each received grants of $125,000 per officer, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of COPS Awards Report stated. Sheldon, a town of 5,512 at the time of the 2020 census, will receive three officers while the other agencies will each receive one.
Union County Sheriff Mark Shepherd said the department applied for a COPS grant. Shepherd said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation for his agency’s “skeleton crew.”
“We have MPs on leave at the moment with COVID and we have done so [during] the first go-around of COVID,” he said. “We had a retired assistant and we are trying to train an assistant and our assistant who is doing our training fell ill. We knew we had always operated from our shirt sleeve and we needed to beef up our staff a bit. Thanks to the grant, this will allow us to do this. … We won’t be so short of staff during shifts.
He said the agency also wanted to train an investigative work assistant to speed up the pace of case resolution and the grant would help with that.
“An assistant working nights, they can’t turn around and come in during the day to do an interview or find [a suspect] in their workplace,” Shepherd said. “With this new grant position, this assistant will work hand-in-hand with the case assistant and do the follow-ups during the day that the case assistant can’t do while working at night.”
Shepherd said if the agency received a second grant, it would be able to activate its 4-day patrol schedule, 10-hour shifts that do not rotate to a “6 on 3 off” schedule or a 5 out of 3 schedule. holiday schedule” which would rotate so that MPs could benefit from weekend holidays. He said it would boost morale. He said prospective officers declined to apply due to the demands of the existing schedule.
This year, the bureau received 590 applications and awarded scholarships to 31% of them, totaling $139 million in scholarships to 183 law enforcement agencies for 1,066 full-time law enforcement personnel. .
President Joe Biden has requested a $300 million increase for the program for fiscal year 2022, the press release said.