NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the City of North Charleston say a $1,875,000 grant received by the North Charleston Police Department will go to hiring 15 additional neighborhood resources officers.
The grant was awarded by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) of the US Department of Justice.
According to city officials, the grant will pay the salary and fringe benefits of the new officers for three years.
Currently, there are seven neighborhood resources officers who are tasked with "establishing stronger relationships with the community through long-term assignments within a singular neighborhood."
"This has proven to build trust between the officer and the residents of the neighborhoods," North Charleston city officials said."Through these efforts, a mutual respect is gained, along with better public safety."
The officers also work with other divisions of the city, including Code Enforcement, Sanitation, Building Inspection and others to improve the livability of these communities, officials say.
"The North Charleston Police Department is constantly looking for ways to bond with the community, build trust, and provide the highest level of public safety as possible," said North Charleston Keith Summey. "This COPS grant coincides with our ongoing efforts, such as our School Resources Officers in every school, the Cops Athletic Programs where our officers coach youth athletes in basketball and Powderpuff football, our STAND Program to turn around low level drug offenders, among many others."
"Ensuring that local law enforcement officers have the resources they need to serve their communities fairly, faithfully, and effectively is among the Justice Department's highest priorities," said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. "These awards will not only keep more officers on the beat, they will address specific issue areas like violent crime, school safety, homeland security, and community trust. They will help our law enforcement agencies become more efficient and more responsive to the needs of their jurisdictions."
The City of North Charleston will provide a $1.3 million match for the grant and will absorb the cost of the officers' salaries and fringe benefits after the completion of the grant.