Vice President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday announced $1 billion in stimulus grants to fund the hiring of 4700 law enforcement officers. South Carolina was awarded 45 grants worth $20.7 million and 139 officer positions.
The grants will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for entry level officer positions over a three-year period. The Act also requires that police departments receiving the grants must retain the grant funded positions for a fourth year.
The Columbia Police Department, for example, will receive more than $2.8 million, second only to Charleston. Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter says that will fund 18 additional officers. “Eighteen doesn’t seem a whole lot, but it is for a police force trying to police a community of 126,000. There’s more boots on the ground, creates a bigger officer/police presence and in the end, it reduces crime. ”
Charleston will receive 19 new officers.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn says the funding through the Community Oriented Policing Services or “COPS” program will help hire and re-hire the manpower needed to fight crime more effectively through neighborhood policing.
(thanks to David Waterman, WVOC News Radio)