The City of Allentown will be able to hire five additional police officers thanks to an estimated $625,000 Department of Justice COPS Office, 2014 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grant. The funding to the city is part of $123 million being awarded across the country to 215 law enforcement agencies to create and/or preserve law enforcement jobs.
The officers will be assigned as School Resource Officers in either elementary or secondary schools. It brings the city’s total authorized complement to 221 officers. Just eight years ago retirements had reduced available manpower to 160 officers.
“This is fantastic news for the city,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “It puts officers in more school buildings which will improve safety and increase interaction between police officers and students. It will also enhance our intelligence gathering efforts.”
Pawlowski praised the efforts of US Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania who has been a staunch supporter of additional COPS Program funding. “We have been fortunate to receive a number of COPS Program grants. Senator Casey has been instrumental in pushing the Congress to increase funding.”
Casey said, “This grant will help the Allentown Police Department continue to keep residents safe. I will continue to urge Congress to increase funding for the COPS program to support our municipalities as they work on advancing public safety.”
“This program is extremely competitive,” said Allentown Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald. “Nearly 1300 agencies applied across the country. We are one of four local departments in Pennsylvania and the only one in the eastern part of the state to receive funding. I am quite pleased with the assessment of the review committees of the strength of the city’s application.”
CHP provides funding to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. CHP grants go directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
FY 2014 CHP grants provide up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of full-time officers for a 36-month grant period, with a minimum 25 percent local cash match requirement and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer position.