Monday, Congresswoman Monica de La Cruz met with the Mission Police Department and awarded the law enforcement agency a $1 million grant at the Center for Education and Economic Development. The grant, also known as the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant, aims to minimize crime and increase community outreach and safety.
“By providing the grants, we put officers on the streets. And community-oriented policing that you’re able to possibly impact the crime rate,” said the Office of Congresswoman Monica de La Cruz in an official interview.
The COPS Hiring Program grant is a competitive award program “designed to provide funding directly to law enforcement agencies to hire and/or rehire additional career law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts,” as stated on their official website.
According to the Office of Congresswoman de La Cruz, cities such as the Alamo received $552,000, and Alton received a quarter of a million dollars from a COPS grant. However, Mission acquired a higher award due to population size and growth.
With the $1 million, the Mission PD will hire eight new police officers to their 188 numbered staff and pay their salaries over three years.
As indicated by the COPS grant, $224.5 million in funding is available through FY 2023 CHP. Each award supports up to 75 percent of an officer or deputy’s entry-level salaries and fringe benefits for three years within five years of performance to accommodate the time needed for recruitment and hiring.
A minimum 25 percent local cash match is required unless a waiver is authorized. The maximum federal share per officer position is $125,000 over the three years unless a local match waiver is approved. Any additional costs for higher than entry-level salaries and fringe benefits will be covered by the recipient agency.
“These officers prioritize their time in meeting with citizens,” said Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres. “They will be visiting schools, nursing homes, boys and girls clubs, military veterans, neighborhood watches, and city events.”
Torres states that this motion will increase rapport between law enforcement and the community of Mission, especially as the city population and economy surge.
“With growth, more calls of service are made to the police department,” the Chief said. “As the city is growing in population, then the police force is growing as well.”
The City of Mission, according to Torres, continues to establish programs to enhance law enforcement service calls and contact, alongside reducing crime.
“They’re going to be able to put more officers on the street to protect the community, and that’s the most important thing to the Congresswoman,” said the Office of Congresswoman de La Cruz.