The Justice Department on Tuesday announced $2.2 million in funding to law enforcement agencies focused on community policing projects, calling the programs “critical.”
The funding went to agencies and stakeholders through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Community Policing Development Microgrants Program.
Community Oriented Policing Services Office Director Phil Keith announced 29 awards Tuesday with amounts ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.
“The CPD Microgrants Program is a critical resource to advance innovative community policing projects across the country,” Keith said in a statement. “These strategic investments from the COPS Office pay huge dividends to state and local law enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve.”
The funding, according to the Justice Department, will be used to develop the capacity of local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies to implement community policing strategies.
The Justice Department said applicants were invited to propose creative ideas on community engagement, problem solving or organizational changes to support community policing.
The programs would focus on changes in human trafficking, meeting rural law enforcement challenges, officer safety and wellness, school safety, staffing and allocation studies, victim-centered approaches, violent crime and youth engagement.
“These awards are being announced at a critical time for our country, when community policing strategies are very much needed to improve police and community relations,” the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Last month, the DOJ awarded nearly $400 million in grant funding for almost 600 state and local police departments to hire more officers as part of a federal community policing program.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great nation with needed resources, tools and support,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their communities.”
The funds will come from the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (also known as the COPS Office) and its associated hiring program.
The focus of the COPS Office is to enhance trust and mutual respect between law enforcement officers and the communities that they serve. Since the mid-1990s, the office says it has invested more than $14 billion in departments around the U.S. — but the latest round of funds from the long-standing program comes as communities across the country see protests and unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, which happened while he was in police custody in Minneapolis, and amid calls by some to defund the police.
In total, local law enforcement agencies will be able to hire up to 2,732 full-time officers with the funds, the DOJ said in a press release last month.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.