PATERSON – With U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) on hand, the Paterson Police Department welcomed 26 new officers on Monday.
Pascrell, Co-Chairman of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, oversaw the distribution of funds from the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program grant that awarded $1.6 million to the PPD that funded 10 of the officers.
“I am truly honored to help welcome the newest members of the Paterson Police Department,” said Rep. Pascrell, who over the past two years has led the effort in the Congress to save the COPS program from elimination. “The COPS Hiring Program provides vital grants to cities and towns like Paterson all over the United States to help them hire the officers they need to protect and serve their communities.”
The swearing-in comes just weeks after the tragic shooting death of 12-year-old Paterson resident Genesis Rincon. Rep. Pascrell said it is because of incidents like Rincon’s that the COPS program is needed.
“The recent tragic shooting of Genesis Rincon is a sad reminder of the need for a greater law enforcement presence to combat gun violence and other crimes,” he said. “I thank these brave men and women for their commitment to protecting our city, and I join our community in expressing my gratitude for their courageous service.”
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) provides funding to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. CHP grants go directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $13 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 approximately 120,000 officers.
In May, the House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Pascrell which would protect funding for the CHP and allow the hiring of almost 1000 additional police officers. The amendment, which was included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations Bill for Commerce Justice and Science (CJS), would restore $110 million to the COPS funding in order to maintain current year's level of funding and avoid a proposed 60 percent cut.