YPD gets federal grant to hire more officers
In some good news, the Yuma Police Department has received federal money to hire eight additional officers over the next three years, four more than officials had hoped for when applying for the grant.
YPD is the recipient of an estimated $1 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program to hire the new officers.
In addition, the Quechan Fish and Game Department has been awarded $96,941 to hire one new officer.
COPS 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.
“The COPS Hiring Grant allows (YPD) to actively hire eight additional officers, while allowing three years to prepare our budget to fully fund those positions,” Yuma Police Chief John Lekan said.
Lekan explained that the COPS Hiring Program requires the police department to budget for and retain the grant-funded positions after the grant expires.
The city also will be responsible for any cost over the $1 million to hire, train and equip the eight new officers, a lengthy process that can take a year.
The goal is to hire four of the new officers in fiscal year 2012-13, said Sgt. Clint Norred, YPD public affairs officer. YPD hopes to hire the other four new officers during the next fiscal year. YPD also is seeking applicants to fill three vacant police officer positions it currently has.
“This will be real boost for the police department and our ability to provide services to the community,” Norred said of the additional officers.
Applicants must be at least 21, be U.S. citizens and have no criminal history. They can apply online at the city of Yuma's website at http://yumaaz.gov, or in person at the human resources office at Yuma City Hall, One City Plaza.
All new officers hired under the COPS grant must be military veterans who have served at least 180 days of active military service, any part of which occurred on or after Sept. 11, 2001, according to a news release from Rep. Raul Grijalva's office.
YPD has received several federal and state grants over this past year, Norred noted. A previous COPS Grant was received in 2010 to help fund five positions.
The Yuma Police Department will continue to be active in seeking grant funding, he said. “These funds are vital to our continued improvement upon the services we provide the community.”
While the police department's budget has been affected by the poor economy, city officials believe it will have improved by the time the grant runs out, so paying for the positions would be easier by then.