US DOJ announces grants to hire new police officers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorney General Loretta Lynch is announcing Justice Department grants Monday to help police departments across the country hire new officers.

The $119 million in funding is being announced in Dallas, site of a sniper ambush in July that left five officers dead, at the start of National Community Policing Week. Other events planned for the week include a town hall discussion on diversity in law enforcement and an awards ceremony, both in Washington.

The goal is to highlight the need for strong relationships between communities and law enforcement, an especially urgent Justice Department priority in light of a months-long stretch of high-profile slayings of both police officers and citizens in not only Dallas but in communities including Baton Rouge, Charlotte and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

The grants, provided by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, are being awarded to 184 law enforcement agencies and are intended to create or preserve more than 900 positions. Almost all of the jobs will be new hires, though the grants will allow some officers to either be rehired or protected from being laid off.