More than 200 law enforcement agencies will be able to hire or retain more than 1,000 new officers and deputies with the $243 million in hiring grants awarded Wednesday by the Department of Justice.

The DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office awarded the grants to 238 law enforcement agencies and municipalities. The awards will create or help preserve 1,021 sworn law enforcement positions.

The awards came via the 2011 COPS Hiring Program, a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire officers to addressing specific crime and disorder challenges confronting communities. The grants pay for 100 percent of the entry level salaries and benefits of newly-hired, or rehired, full-time officer positions over a three-year period.

The largest awards were given for 25 officers or deputies to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department ($11.3 million), Oakland PD ($10.7 million), Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ($8.5 million), Sacramento PD ($8.1 million), Cincinnati PD ($6.8 million), Tucson PD ($6.1 million), and the Newark PD ($6 million).

Also, the Camden (N.J.) PD recieved $3.7 million to hire 14 officers.

The COPS office reviewed 2,712 applications requesting more than $2 billion for 8,999 positions. Funding decisions were based on an agency's commitment to community policing, crime rates, changes in law enforcement budgets, and other local fiscal data such as poverty, unemployment, and foreclosure rates.

"Cities across the country are dealing with numerous challenges and we are pleased to be able to assist their public safety efforts," said Bernard Melekian, director of COPS. "Creating and maintaining jobs is a key part of this program. This funding helps support local departments in their efforts to increase their ranks, enhance their relationship with the community and directly address their public safety concerns."

View a full list of agencies who received funding.

By Paul Clinton

Related: Playing the Grant Game

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