U.S. to Hire 4,600 Police as Part of Economic Recovery Plan
More than 4,600 new police officers are to be hired across the United States at a cost of one billion dollars as part of the country's economic stimulus plan, administration officials said Tuesday.
The grants will be awarded to some 1,046 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and will provide the full salary and benefits for 4,699 officers for three years, according to a Justice Department statement.
There is also a provision that departments receiving the funds retain the positions for at least a fourth year.
The measure falls under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the 787-billion-dollar stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama in February aimed at ending the worst U.S. economic crisis since the 1930s.
"A big part of the Recovery Act is about building communities -- making them as strong as they can be, allowing every American family to live a better life than the one they are leading now," Vice President Joe Biden said at an event in Philadelphia where he was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and several state governors and city mayors, according to the statement.
"And we can't achieve the goal of stronger communities without supporting those who keep our streets safe."
The government was swamped with applications for the grants, with more than 7,200 agencies applying for funding for 39,000 officer positions since the launch of the stimulus plan, the department said.
"The tremendous demand for these grants is indicative of both the tough times our states, cities and (native American) tribes are facing, and the unyielding commitment by law enforcement to making our communities safer," Holder said.
In total, four billion dollars of the stimulus package was earmarked for grants to enhance law enforcement efforts at the state and local level, as well as on native American lands, which have their own police departments.
In addition to the hiring of new police officers, the funds will help combat violence against women and fight Internet crimes against children.