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U.S. Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Gilbert Moore

September 16, 2004 (202) 616-1728

COPS OFFICE AWARDS $82.6 MILLION TO SUPPORT INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

Washington D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today awarded $82.6 million in grants to 23 communities in 17 states to develop interoperable communication networks. The grants will cover the purchase of communication equipment, enhancements to communication infrastructures, data information sharing systems and project management expenses associated with upgrading interoperable communication systems.

The grants were awarded under the COPS Interoperable Communications Technology grant program, which seeks to increase the number of integrated communication and data systems used by neighboring law enforcement, fire service, and emergency medical service agencies. Each grantee is required to provide a 25 percent match of the federal funds. Including today's grants, COPS has awarded $149.1 million to 37 cities to develop and upgrade interoperable communication systems.

"The ability of first responders and other emergency service providers to communicate effectively and affect a well-coordinated response during emergencies is a critical component of public safety," said COPS Director Carl R. Peed. "COPS is pleased to support the needs of first responders at the local level."

The two largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) from each state and U.S. territory as well as the 50 largest MSAs in the country were selected to apply for the grants, ensuring that large cities and small towns had access to the program. After eliminating duplicates and MSAs that had previously received Interoperable Communication grants from COPS, the primary jurisdiction in each of the resulting 109 MSAs was invited to apply on behalf of their entire region. Seventy-eight of the invited MSAs applied, and 23 applications were funded. Of the 23 communities that received grants, 6 had a population of less than 150,000.

In addition to Interoperable Communication grants, COPS provides law enforcement agencies with an array of community policing training and technical assistance resources. Since 1994, COPS has made grants to more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies to hire over 118,000 community policing officers, investing more than $10.6 billion nationwide.

To learn which cities received grants or for more information about COPS resources:

 

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