Stimulus money will help police departments throughout Delaware add extra officers.
24 new police officers are now on the street in Delaware thanks to more than $5-million in federal funds. The money is part of the American Recovery Act given to the COPS program (Community Oriented Policing Services).
16 of the new officers are now working in the Wilmington Police Department. Wilmington Police Cheif Michael Szczerba says the funding provides three full years of funding as opposed to previous COPS funding grants, which gradually diminished over the course of the three years. He says, “In this tough economic times, it means so much. Two weeks ago, we graduated 16 officers who were hired through this COPS funding.”
Senator Carper says the extra officers benefit the community in two ways. In addition to creating jobs, the money improves public safety which can contribute to a better economic environment. “Another thing that employers are interested in growing or locating a business, they want to know that they’ll be safe with their own families if that’s where they’re going to live. They want to know it will be a safe place to conduct business, that their employees when they come to work, whether thye take the bus, whether they drive to work, they want to know that they’re safe. All of that kind of works together for job creation and job preservation.”
Under the COPS grant, cities are required to fully fund the officers for their fourth year on the streets. In addition to Wilmington, other municipalities receiving new officers include Harrington, Smyrna, Selbyville, Cheswold, Dover, Middletown, and Georgetown.