|Oakland gets $5.5 million for hiring|
|Written by Mark Nichols|
According to a recent report from CBS News, cities and counties across California will receive nearly $20 million in federal grants to help hire more than 100 new law enforcement officers.
According to reports, Alameda County was given nearly $2.3 million that will allow the hiring of eight new deputies. Sacramento, Inglewood, Modesto and Vallejo got grants of at least one million.
Oakland officials say they will use the grant to hire 10 officers over three years. Oakland has slashed the size of its police force from about 830 officers in 2009 to slightly more than 600.
“These competitive grants are essential to our police force, and this financial support will make a positive impact to make our communities safer,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who lives in Oakland.
It’s pretty impressive that any COPS grants are being handed out at all.
The COPS program, slated to get $440 million in the 2014 federal budget, has been fiercely criticized by conservatives. In fact the House Appropriations Committee recommended that the program be eliminated entirely.
COPS acting director Joshua Ederheimer said he is confident the program will receive appropriate funding.
“There’s universal support in every state,” he said. “I know that in the past the House has not been as supportive, but I think as they get more informed, just as they have done in the past, they do end up supporting local law enforcement.”
Associate U.S. Attorney General Tony West made the point that the mass killing at the Washington Navy Yard served as a tragic reminder of the need for public safety.
Oakland has had 69 homicides so far this year compared to 80 during the same period of 2012. The city ended last year with 131 homicides.
“The faster we can grow this Police Department, the better service we can provide, the more crime reduction we’re likely to see,” said Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, who is hoping for 700 officers by 2015.
“Right now, I’d be out here singing the praises if they were giving me two officers.”