Costa Announces Funds to Hire Police Officers, Improve Safety

WASHINGTON, DC.  – Rep. Jim Costa announced that the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has released more than $820,000 for the hire of four additional law enforcement officers. The funds are sent directly to law enforcement agencies to help hire or rehire law enforcement officials to improve local safety efforts. In the 16th Congressional District, Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, and Madera all received funds to hire an additional officer.

“For years, our Valley cities have been faced with fiscal challenges that have forced them to make painful budget decisions,” said Costa. “These grants give them the flexibility needed to build and maintain their police departments so they can keep our communities safe. COPS is a critical lifeline to local law enforcement, and I will continue to fight for funding this program.”

COPS Hiring Program grants cover 75 percent of the salaries and benefits for hiring new full-time officers or rehiring officers who have been laid off due to local budget cuts over a period of 3 years. Atwater received a waiver for their local match due to the community’s demonstration of a commitment to fund first responders by passing a unique public safety sales tax.

Atwater City Manager and Police Chief Frank Pietro said, “We have had a great partnership for many years with the COPS program. This grant will help put us back in the black and keep the Atwater community safe. Thanks to Rep. Costa for all his hard work; I don’t think we could have received this grant without him.”

In California, 39 local law enforcement agencies received COPS program funding to protect or create a total of 105 different public safety jobs across the state. Local agencies received the following funds:

  • Atwater- $369,931
  • Dos Palos- $123,368
  • Gustine - $202,489
  • Madera - $125,000

City Administrator for Madera David Tooley commented, “The City of Madera will utilize COPS funds to pay for an officer position in the Police Department Task Force.  The task force focuses on working with allied agencies – Madera County Probation, the City of Chowchilla Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, the California Highway Patrol and, the Madera County Sheriff’s office – in finding long term solution to gang problems.”

Agencies that requested funds to fund school resource officers, commit to hiring veterans, and/or focused on homicide or gun violence prevention received priority consideration for funding. Gustine Police Department plans to partially use the grant to improve their community outreach efforts.

 

Gustine Police Chief Doug Dunford said, “I’d like to thank Rep. Costa for his help that was instrumental in Gustine receiving this grant. It will help us reach out to build the force and do what we need to do to keep our community safe. We also will be able to provide more outreach programs to the community.”

Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann added, “By funding a school resource officer, we will be able to enhance and continue our partnership with the school district. When our school district took a budget hit, the city stepped in to provide this important resource, but we were paying for it all on our own. This grant offers relief to our bottom line and allows us to keep our commitments to our community.”