Tampa wins $1.9 million community policing grant to hire 15 officers
The U.S. Justice Department is awarding Tampa $1.85 million over the next three years to hire 15 community policing officers.
"We are beyond thrilled," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday.
“This will help us put more officers on the street as we continue to build relationships with community members and work together to keep the city safe,” Police Chief Eric Ward said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
The city’s local match under the federal Office of Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) program will be about $2.7 million. As a condition of the grant, the city will be required to retain all the positions paid for by the COPS grant for at least a year beyond the three-year scope of the grant.
“Fifteen more officers on the street where they are needed and training to be more community-oriented are critical to diffuse tensions and build trust,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who has opposed moves to cut the COPS program. Building trust through community policing helps "officers better respond to the diverse concerns of our neighbors.”