SAFETY

Utah to receive $800K grant to hire more police officers

Nov 22, 2021, 6:38 AM | Updated: 1:07 pm
hire more police officers...
FILE: An Orem police vehicle is pictured in Orem on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

OREM, Utah — The Department of Justice is awarding Utah hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire more police officers. 

As part of a larger nationwide justice department grant program, Utah will receive $813,436 for police necessities. More than half, $500,000, will go to Orem. The rest will be split between North Park in Logan and San Juan County. 

“Community oriented policing is vital to community safety and building trust between law enforcement and the community,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez in a statement released last week. 

More than $139 million will be sent out to police departments across the country for a variety of police-related needs. 

In the statement, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The grants we are announcing today will enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community oriented policing programs.”

Local departments look for new hires

The North Park Police Department serving North Logan in Cache County is a small agency.

“Currently, we have 12 sworn full-time, and I have one part-time patrol,” says Chief Ulysses Black.

The $125,000 grant from the justice department will help increase that number to 13. The chief says his officers have a lot on their plate right now, so adding even one more person will make a difference.

“There’s definitely a sense of excitement throughout the office,” he says. “We’re ready to go. We’re just looking for applicants.”

Meanwhile, Orem is getting $500,000 from the grant. That will enable its police department to hire four more officers.

“Obviously, this is a large grant and we’re appreciative of receiving that and being able to help the community better,” says Orem Lt. Nick Thomas.

That agency plans to have the four new hires focus on strengthening relationships with law enforcement.

“We’re really excited to be able to take the money and put it to good use,” says Lt. Thomas. “I mean, that’s why I got into policing is to help the community and I think most officers got in for that reason.”

The DOJ grant will help pay the new officer salaries in Orem and North Park for the next three years. After that, the cities have agreed to keep those new positions filled.

Orem was awarded a similar grant in 2020 which helped the agency hire three new officers.

San Juan County was also awarded $188,000.

To learn more about the COPS Hiring Program from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), visit  https://cops.usdoj.gov/chp-award. For additional information about the COPS Office and their goal to hire more police officers, please visit https://cops.usdoj.gov/.  


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Utah to receive $800K grant to hire more police officers