Philadelphia police officers gathering, close-up of Lt. Josey. Photo courtesy of Shari DeAngelo (Flickr.com).
The federal government will give $1 billion in economic stimulus funds to law enforcement agencies in every state to pay for the hiring and re-hiring of officers, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced.
The grants were announced Tuesday in Philadelphia, and departments in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia will receive the maximum allocation to hire 50 officers and pay them for three years. The NYPD was passed over for funds, due to the city's falling crime rate.
The Department of Justice received requests for more than $8.3 billion from law enforcement agencies, though it had only $1 billion to dole out, officials said. In all, 1,046 agencies will hire 4,699 officers with the funds, according to the DOJ.
The Chicago Police Department's grant was well short of the 400 requested by the department. The news comes at a time when hiring in the city's Police Department has slowed to just one academy class of 46. The city and police recently agreed to lower the age of retirement with full benefits for police officers from 60 to 55. Up to 874 officers could be eligible to take the option over the next four years, the Chicago Tribune reports.
In Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey welcomed the funds in a city that has been hard hit by the economic downturn. Five police officers were killed in the line of duty in his city between May 3, 2008, and Feb. 13, CNN reports.
View a full list of the agencies who received stimulus funds.
Grant recipients submitted applications with data regarding their jurisdiction's fiscal health, crime trends and community policing plans. The fiscal health factors accounted for 50 percent of the total application index, and the crime statistics and community policing plans accounted for the other 50 percent, according to the DOJ's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
The COPS Office is legally required to distribute half of the available funding to jurisdictions serving populations of more than 150,000 and the other half to jurisdictions serving populations less than this level.