PATERSON – Today, U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Co-Chairman of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, welcomed 26 new officers to the Paterson Police Department, 10 of which were funded through a $1.6 million federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program grant awarded to Paterson last September. Today’s ceremony comes just weeks after the tragic shooting of 12-year-old Genesis Rincon, who was hit by a stray bullet while riding her scooter in Paterson.
“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 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. 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 2011, Congressman Pascrell offered an amendment to H.R. 1, the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, which restored $298 million to the COPS program after it had been cut by the new majority. Later that year, Congressman Pascrell successfully fought to restore $166 million to COPS after the majority again proposed eliminating it entirely. In May 2012, Pascrell again fought to get House passage of an amendment to provide $166 million for the COPS program. The amendment narrowly passed 206-204, helping ensure that the program will exist in 2013.
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% cut.