FORT SMITH — The Department of Justice today announced more than $139 million in grant funding through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The awards provide direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation, allowing those agencies to hire 1,066 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. In the Western District of Arkansas, the city of Hot Springs was awarded funding totaling $625,000.
“We are committed to providing police departments with the resources needed to help ensure community safety and build community trust,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The grants we are announcing today will enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community oriented policing programs.”
“We are so proud of the efforts that the Hot Springs Police Department has taken to combat the rising tide of violent crime in the Western District of Arkansas,” said United States Attorney David Clay Fowlkes. “This award reflects both their hard work in this area and their deep commitment to help protect our communities. We look forward to the future of working together with the Hot Springs Police Department and other agencies throughout Western Arkansas to accomplish these important goals.”
The CHP is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing. CHP provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers, thereby increasing their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. Of the 183 agencies awarded grants today, approximately half will use the funding to focus on building legitimacy and trust between law enforcement and communities; 41 agencies will seek to address high rates of gun violence; 21 will focus on other areas of violence; and 19 will focus CHP resources on combating hate and domestic extremism or supporting police-based responses to persons in crisis. The complete list of awards can be found here.
Since its creation in 1994, COPS has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 135,000 officers. CHP, COPS’ flagship program, continues to be in demand today: In FY21, COPS received 590 applications requesting nearly 3,000 law enforcement positions. For FY22, President Biden has requested $537.0 million for CHP, an increase of $300 million.
The COPS Office is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. The only Department of Justice agency with policing in its name, the COPS Office was established in 1994 and has been the cornerstone of the nation’s crime fighting strategy with grants, a variety of knowledge resource products, and training and technical assistance. Through the years, the COPS Office has become the go-to organization for law enforcement agencies across the country and continues to listen to the field and provide the resources that are needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served.