Updated July 29 at 9:29am

R.I. police receive $636,207 in federal grants to hire five officers

U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse announced Friday that four Rhode Island law enforcement agencies will receive a total of $636,207 to hire five more police officers this year.

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R.I. police receive $636,207 in federal grants to hire five officers

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PROVIDENCE – U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse announced Friday that four Rhode Island law enforcement agencies will receive a total of $636,207 to hire five more police officers this year.

Administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office, or COPS, these grants aim to put more police officers on the streets, reduce crime and help cities fill budget gaps, according to a release from Reed’s office Friday.

“This federal investment will help put more cops on the beat in communities across Rhode Island to help keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Reed, who helped create the COPS program in the 1990s and serves on the appropriations subcommittee that oversees COPS funding.

Whitehouse, who wrote letters in support of the towns’ grant applications, also applauded the award in the Friday release, echoing Reed’s message about the importance of putting more officers in uniform.

Of the four Rhode Island police departments receiving funding, Middletown has been awarded the most funding, a total of $250,000 to hire two officers, while Central Falls will receive $136,207 to hire one officer. The police departments of Richmond and West Greenwich each will receive $125,000 to hire one officer.

This year’s COPS grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions (including filling existing unfunded vacancies) or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts.

In total, $125 million in COPS grants were awarded to 263 different local law enforcement agencies across the country, selected on the basis of fiscal need, local crime rates and community policing plans.

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