Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4), Mayor Bill Finch, and Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, Jr., announced today that the City of Bridgeport will receive grant of $5,604,080 to hire 20 new police officers this year. Himes and the city worked with the Department of Justice to secure the grant, which was awarded from funding through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
“This grant means 20 new cops on the street, 20 new jobs, and a safer Bridgeport,” Himes said. “As tough economic times squeeze local police budgets and make it more difficult to keep crime rates low, this grant will help the Bridgeport Police Department protect our neighborhoods, families, and businesses.”
The 20 additional officers will focus their efforts on preventing teen crime and reducing gang and drug-related activity. The officers will serve as part of a Strategic Enforcement Team, which will work with the community to prevent teen gang activity, prevent gang-related drug activity, and help ease congestion around schools during peak hours. In addition, the Bridgeport Police Department will also implement community policing training programs for all new officers, which will instruct personnel on the best strategies for preventing youth from becoming involved in gang and drug activity.
“The addition of 20 new officers to the Bridgeport Police Department, thanks to this federal program, will enhance the department’s community policing and overall crime prevention efforts,” said Gaudett.
COPS grants provide funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, and rehire career law enforcement officers in an effort to create and preserve jobs and increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. The grants cover the full salary and benefits packages for these highly-trained public sector positions.
“We are very thankful to Congressman Himes’ efforts in securing these funds, which will help improve public safety in our city,” said Finch. “We look forward to bringing in 20 new officers to protect and serve the residents of Bridgeport.”