For Immediate ReleaseThursday, September 7, 2000
LOWELL, MA. Attorney General Janet Reno and the U.S. Department of Justices Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced $1 million in grants to enable police agencies to strengthen or expand existing local programs that reflect model practices in building trust between the police and their communities.
For the eighth consecutive year, the crime rate has fallen in virtually every category, in every part of this Nation, said Attorney General Janet Reno. But we need to take it to the next level. These grants will allow us to build on the success we have had with community policing and go even further, by hiring and training our police officers to be peacemakers and problem solvers.
The Peacemakers Initiative was designed to accelerate and encourage model practices in trust building between law enforcement and the communities they serve, said COPS Director Thomas Frazier. This Initiative allows for innovation and progress. It strengthens the link between community policing and police integrity. Making this link a reality in every city and town will be the challenge for the entire law enforcement community.
The COPS office created this pilot initiative as a result of the Attorney Generals 1999 conference Strengthening Police-Community Relationships, which highlighted the need to identify police practices and reforms to build trust, reduce police misconduct, and enhance police integrity. The initiative seeks ways to build on the successes of community policing and at the same time address police practices that may enhance trust between the police and their communities. It emphasizes the principle that police officers can be effective in reducing crime and keeping our neighborhoods safe, while at the same time treating all citizens with respect and dignity and protecting Constitutional rights.
Five police departments will be receiving funding under this grant: Lowell, Mass., $178,700; Colorado Springs, Colo., $200,000; Tampa, Fla., $166,000; Sacramento, Calif., $200,000; and Knoxville, Tenn., $200,000.
The COPS program is the Administrations initiative to add 100,000 officers to the beat and advance community policing nation wide. Community policing is a crime fighting strategy that encourages law enforcement to work in partnership with the community to identify and reduce crime problems.