SAYREVILLE – The borough police department has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire eight new police officers,
The new officers are expected to be hired by the borough and integrated into the police department over the next two years, Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick and Police Chief John Zebrowski said in a statement.
“The borough’s sworn strength has recently fallen below the threshold needed, and with a swath of upcoming retirements, this funding couldn’t come at a better time,” Borough Administrator Dan Frankel said.
The department currently has 85 officers, Frankel said.
The grant is among the nearly $400 million in grant funding awards announced earlier this month to 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation that allows the agencies to hire 2,732 additional full-time law enforcement professionals, according to the DOJ.
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“The Department of Justice is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great nation with needed resources, tools and support,” U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said when announcing the grants.
The funding will bolster their ranks and contribute to expanding community policing efforts nationwide, he said.
“A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their communities,” Barr said.
The award will offset the salary of the prospective new officers over a three-year period, with the borough fully absorbing costs starting on the fourth year, borough officials said. The new officers will specifically bolster the Sayreville Police Department’s community policing efforts and will also assist operations aimed at protecting the borough’s critical infrastructure, they said.
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“Anytime we obtain a grant it’s a big benefit to the borough, especially during this time of COVID-19 with economic uncertainty,” Kilpatrick said. “Over the last several years we have been working to supplement our police force as more people retire. We knew we needed to hire more people, and this is going to dramatically assist in that cause.”
The grants are provided through the DOJ’s COPS Hiring Program, a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law enforcement officers. In addition to providing financial support for hiring, CHP provides funding to state, local and tribal law enforcement to enhance local community policing strategies and tactics.
CHP funding helps law enforcement agencies maintain sufficient sworn personnel levels to promote safe communities. Funding through the program had been on hold since the spring of 2018 due to a nationwide injunction that was lifted earlier this year.
A complete list of the awards is available at https://bit.ly/2UOJjLc.
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Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.