Police departments in the state will split nearly $12 million in federal grant money to bring on additional, full-time officers.

Overall, the U.S. Justice Department announced more than $139 million in funds distributed to 183 agencies nationwide to add more than 1,000 staffers through the COPS Hiring Program.

The CHP funding is meant for hiring more career law enforcement officers to increase “their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts."

Nearly $12 million was earmarked for police forces in New Jersey, as follows:

  • Camden County Police will be able to hire 20 more officers with $2.5 million
  • Paterson Police will be able to hire 20 additional officers, using $3.8 million
  • Bayonne Police received $1.5 million to hire another 12 officers
  • Plainfield Police received $1.25 million to hire 10 additional officers
  • New Brunswick Police would be hiring six additional officers using $2.3 million
  • Prospect Park received $500,000 to add four more police officers

The grants were awarded after the nationwide program received 590 applications, requesting a total of nearly 3,000 law enforcement positions.

About half would be used in ways to build trust between law enforcement and communities, federal officials announced.

Fund vs defund

Millions of dollars to hire new officers comes at a time when the idea of "defunding police" has become a polarizing political talking point.

“The funding announced today will help make our neighborhoods safer and build trust between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said in a written statement.

“Community-oriented policing has led to great strides in many of our New Jersey communities, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen those programs moving forward.”

Back in July, then-state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal countered the idea of pulling money from police departments.

“Immediately withdrawing these types of resources from law enforcement puts them in an untenable position,” Grewal said during a remote legislative session on police reform.

Instead, he advocated for increased funding to improve training.

Pat Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said during the same session that the PBA supports efforts to license police officers and completely rejects the notion of defunding police in any way shape or form.

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