Warwick Beacon: WPD to use $375K grant to hire 3 Community Engagement Officers

Originally Published by The Warwick Beacon 10/11/2016

Warwick and Portsmouth and Police Departments will hire additional law enforcement officers to enhance school-based policing and community engagement efforts in their respective communities under a $625,000 grant announced Oct. 7 by U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline. 

The federal grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, which awarded $119 million in grants to police departments nationwide this week as part of the COPS Hiring Program, or CHP.

Warwick Police is being awarded $375,000 to hire three Community Engagement Officers to build relationships and trust through community engagement, and especially to help the WPD address mental health issues in the community.  While the WPD has developed and implemented strategies to work with students who are prone to criminal behavior due to mental health issues, the new officers will help the department work with community partners and stakeholders to extend community outreach and help young adults who are out of school and need assistance.

“Even with tight budgets, public safety must be our top priority.  This federal funding will help Portsmouth and Warwick meet that goal by hiring additional police officers for the community,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee in a statement.

“These awards will help put more Rhode Island police officers in our neighborhoods to fight crime and keep our schools safe,” said Whitehouse. “Congratulations to the Warwick and Portsmouth Police Departments on these well-deserved grants, and for your commitment to the communities you serve.”

“Public safety is always a top priority, and COPS grants have consistently helped police departments across the state to be funded and staffed at adequate levels. Congratulations to Warwick and Portsmouth on successfully competing for these federal dollars, which will significantly aid in their efforts to keep Rhode Islanders safe,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

Launched in 1994, the COPS Hiring Program provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, and/or rehire police officers and helps local police departments increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.