09.21.15

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, MALONEY ANNOUNCE MORE THAN $600,000 IN FED FUNDS COMING TO THE CITY OF POUGHKEEPSIE TO PUT FIVE MORE COPS ON THE BEAT – FUNDS WILL HELP ENSURE SAFER STREETS

Federal Funding Will Beef Up Local Law Enforcement in Poughkeepsie – Schumer, Gillibrand, Maloney Vow To Keep Pushing For Changes To DOJ Program That Would Allow Poughkeepsie To Hire Even More Cops 

Schumer, Gillibrand, Maloney: These Fed Funds Help Ensure the Police Staffing Necessary to Keep Our Communities Safe

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney today announced that the City of Poughkeepsie will receive $625,000 in federal funding to hire five new police officers. This significant funding comes from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which helps cities around the country put more cops on the beat. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney said that, given how tight city budgets are, these funds are critical in enabling Poughkeepsie to bolster its police force and keep communities safe, particularly at a time when illegal drug seizure, firearm seizure and other crime is on the rise in the City. Schumer visited the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department in June to push for this funding, and Rep. Maloney also focused attention on the crime issue in the community and weighed in with DOJ for this grant.  

“At a time of tight budgets for cities like Poughkeepsie, helping to hire and retain police officers is exactly the type of investment that the federal government should be making. This effort will increase safety in the City of Poughkeepsie and ensure that the local police have the additional resources they need to work effectively and prevent crime,” said Senator Schumer, author of the 1994 Crime Bill that created the COPS program. “Furthermore, while the COPS Hiring Program has been a god-send for communities around New York, it does not make sense that the DOJ currently limits a city like Poughkeepsie from applying for the funds it truly needs by placing a hard cap on how much funding each can receive. That is why I have proposed the program also take local crime rates into consideration – and I will continue fighting for this program change so we can enable cities with the highest crime rates to apply for more funding to hire officers beyond the cap.”

“This federal funding will enable the Poughkeepsie Police Department to invest in hiring law enforcement to keep neighborhoods safe and secure,” saidSenator Gillibrand. “Protecting our families and communities is a top priority and the new addition of trained police officers will help improve public safety and enable the police department to respond to emergencies. I will continue to push for funding to help get our police officers the resources needed to combat crime more effectively.”

“I’ve been fighting for this investment in the city since day one, and after the horrifying acts of violence this summer, my message to the Justice Department was simple: We need to stop the violence and invest in our law enforcement officers who work so hard to keep this city safe,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “The families that live in this city and the police officers who risk their lives every day need our support; we must invest in the tactics that we know reduce crime, strengthen our communities, and make our streets safer, and this investment will do just that.”

“This is great news for the City of Poughkeepsie. It means the addition of 5 new police officers and the restoration of important policing programs that will surely impact public safety for the 30,000 residents of this city and the thousands visitors that visit our city on a daily. At a time when significant cuts in funding sources have been realized, it is good to know that our federal representatives have continued to advocate and help secure necessary funding,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik.

“The City of Poughkeepsie needed to increase the size of its police force to enhance the safety of our residents and businesses and we delivered. According to city law enforcement officials, new hires will enhance community policing services, provide for directed foot and bicycle patrols, and draw on intelligence-led policing and crime-analysis methods to address violent and non-violent crimes. I am grateful to our federal partners who fought hard to seek this aid so that we can immediately address the effects of this summer’s crime surge and put in place long-term strategies that reduce crime in the Queen City and keep more of our families safe,” said Rob Rolison, Dutchess County Legislature Chairman for the City of Poughkeepsie.

Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said, “This is important funding for the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department and will help ensure the multi-faceted approach to addressing gun-related in the City of Poughkeepsie is successful.  Dutchess County has devoted a variety of assets to assist in the City of Poughkeepsie, including assistance with patrols as well the deployment of the our Mobile Crisis Intervention Team in strategic areas.  We are grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Maloney for their advocacy and commitment to getting the funding for these additional City officers.”

Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney explained that, despite an increase in illegal drug seizure, firearm seizure and other crime, the City of Poughkeepsie’s police force has declined in recent years to a little under 96 sworn officers as of just last year, as well as 34 civilians, which includes 13 dispatchers. The Senators and Congressman said that with crime like illegal drug seizure and firearm seizure increasing, it is critical the City of Poughkeepsie will now be able to hire the additional officers it needs turn the tide of crime in the area. With this $625,000 in federal funds, the City of Poughkeepsie create five new officer positions. Putting these cops on the street will increase public safety in the city and reduce the strain that a short-staffed department would have on the rest of the police force. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney all separately wrote letters in support of Poughkeepsie’s application.

In addition, Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney vowed to continue pushing for changes to the DOJ’s COPS Hiring Program (CHP) that would enable smaller cities with higher crime rates, like Poughkeepsie, to apply for additional police officers beyond the current cap. Schumer previously pushed Attorney General Loretta Lynch to consider this change to the program. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney explained the program currently sets a limit on how much funding a city can apply for based on the current size of the police force, rather than the amount of crime in an area. Specifically, the program currently has a hard cap that only allows a city like Poughkeepsie to apply for funding to hire the equivalent of 5 percent of its police force – which in Poughkeepsie’s case is approximately five officers. Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney said that while these five officers are a step in the right direction, this arbitrary limit unfairly restricts a small city like Poughkeepsie, which has a dwindling police force and high crime rate, from applying for the additional officers it may need.

Schumer explained that the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) plays a pivotal role in providing the funds Poughkeepsie, and many cities like it, need to hire new police officers. In total, the City of Poughkeepsie police force has 96 sworn officers, which is nowhere near the optimal number for the city since most are often dealing with such high levels of firearm- and drug-seizure crimes. These five officers will immensely help the city increase its patrolling efforts. Now that the City’s application has been approved, it will the funding it needs to keep these five officers on the beat for at least three years. The City, however, has indicated that in a perfect world, it would apply for funding to bring on 10-12 new cops, which is one of the main reasons the Senators and Congressman are continuing to push for change in the funding limits of the CHP program.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is a component of the US Department of Justice. The COPS Office awards grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire and train community policing professionals, acquire cutting-edge crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test innovative policing strategies. This program awards grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire and train police officers, acquire and deploy new, crime-fighting technologies. The program provides training and technical assistance for all levels of law enforcement. The COPS funding is distributed through a wide range of programs, including grants and cooperative agreements.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letters to Attorney General Loretta Lynch – regarding the DOJ program changes and his support of the CHP funding for Poughkeepsie – are both included below:


Dear Attorney General Lynch,

I want to thank you for your ongoing support of local law enforcement to ensure our cities and towns are able to provide community oriented policing.  Within that effort, the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) is vital to empowering local communities to combat violent crime and ensure that our local communities remain safe. At this time, I am deeply concerned that regulatory limits placed on the CHP program are impeding local enforcement agencies from addressing the issue of rising violent crime in their communities.

Since 2008, the CHP has imposed caps on the number of officer positions that could be awarded to individual agencies. Because of this arbitrary limit, CHP fund allotments are weighed by the size of the police force as opposed to the city’s amount of crime. I’m asking you to lift this restriction and take into consideration local crime rates, and particularly violent crime rates, that often prevent even the largest police force from efficiently protecting their residents.  For the communities experiencing high crime rates, the current limit is simply not enough to address increasing violent crime facing their city. Every officer added to the streets makes a substantial difference to the amount of crime faced by the community.

In my home state of New York, the City of Poughkeepsie continues to struggle with increasing violent crime rates with two fatal shootings in the past few days alone. Despite this increase, the local police force has declined to just under 96 officers. The uptick of violent acts throughout towns in Dutchess County and across NYC points to the increased need for additional police officers. In fact, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice System, firearm-related seizures, opioid abuse, and other violent crimes are all on the rise. Since 2012, the City’s firearm-related crimes have increased nearly 15%. Failing to provide local law enforcement with the flexibility to obtain the officers they need would do a disservice to their mission and to the community.

In order to ensure that police in our most needy cities are able to protect their local neighborhoods, I ask you to strongly consider reassessing the caps you place on officer positions so that they may address the growing crime needs in their communities.  Thank you for your continued support of local law enforcement and I look forward to working with you on this important issue.‎

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

Dear Attorney General Lynch,

 

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department for funding through DOJ’s COPS Hiring Program (CHP).  Such funding will enable the Poughkeepsie Police Department to hire five additional officers.

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department consists of more than 96 sworn members and approximately 34 civilians, which include 13 dispatchers.  The department is divided into specific sections: The Command Administration, Support Services/Training and Development, Evidence, Detectives and Juvenile Divisions, Patrol Divisions, Neighborhood Recovery Unit, Crime Analysis, Main Street and Traffic, Parking Enforcement, Records Sections, and Animal Control.  It is part of the Dutchess County Drug Task Force. The department also has a K-9 Officer and an Emergency Services Unit.

With funding, the Poughkeepsie Police Department will hire five additional officers to restore an updated version of community policing and provide for directed patrols, including on foot and on bicycles, with a focus on violent crime and gun crime.  New hires will be directed to enhanced community policing services, with a focus on engaging the community in problem solving.  Preference will be given to post-9/11 veterans.  Hiring additional officers will ultimately make the streets of Poughkeepsie safer, and allow residents to perceive that they are safe within the community.  I applaud the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

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