SCHUMER LOBBIES ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH IN SUPPORT OF NEWBURGH’S “DOJ COPS GRANT”; SENATOR INTENSIFIES PUSH TO GET 4 NEW, DESPERATELY NEEDED COPS FOR NEWBURGH PD – FED INVESTMENT WOULD HELP SMALL CITY WITH HIGH CRIME RATE IMPROVE COMMUNITY RELATIONS & PATROL EFFORTS IN AREAS WITH HIGHEST INCIDENCES OF VIOLENT CRIME
Schumer Previously Secured Critical $500K In Federal Funds That Allowed Newburgh To Hire 4 Police Officers – Newburgh Currently Seeking New Fed Funds To Hire 4 Additional Cops
4 More Officers Would Help Dept. Increase Patrols In Areas With Highest Incidences Of Gun Violence And Build Trust With Residents & Businesses – Schumer Made Call To Attorney General Loretta Lynch To Urge Her & Dept. Of Justice To Approve Critical Request
Schumer: Funds Could Help Make Big Difference In Bolstering Newburgh Police, Enhancing Community Relations & Curbing Violent Crime
In a personal appeal to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer intensified his push to get more, desperately needed cops for the City of Newburgh. Schumer explained that the City of Newburgh Police Department (CNPD) has applied for $500,000 in federal funds through the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) COPS Hiring Program (CHP), which would allow the department to hire four new officers. Schumer said these new officers would help the department improve relationships with its community and increase safety.
Specifically, the CNPD would use these new officers to increase patrols in areas with the highest incidences of gun violence and build trust and cooperation with area residents and local businesses. In 2014, Schumer successfully secured $500,000 in federal funds for the City of Newburgh to hire four police officers. Schumer argued that four additional police officers would greatly help the CNPD curb violent crime and build critical community relations.
“The City of Newburgh needs all the help it can get to lower its disturbing rates of violent crime and to build better community-cop relations and the federal government should be stepping in to help. That’s why I urged our excellent Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review this very worthy and needed DOJ COPS grant. I’m urging the federal DOJ to award the desperately needed federal funds that will allow the City of Newburgh to hire four new police officers. I was proud to help secure the critical funding in 2014 that helped Newburgh hire four new officers – and four additional officers on top of this would only help the City’s efforts to better patrol the areas with the highest incidences of violent crime and build trust between the department and Newburgh residents and local businesses. Every officer makes a difference, and with this additional manpower, Newburgh could really take a real bite out of violent crime and build a healthier community,” said Schumer.
Schumer continued, “In addition, a city with a crime rate as high as Newburgh’s should not be restricted from seeking critical federal funds to hire the number of cops it truly needs right off the bat. Back in 2014, the City of Newburgh wished to hire more but it could not – hence why we’re back here two years later. Today, I’m renewing my push to change this program – instead of setting a hard cap on how much funding a city can receive, based solely on the size of a city’s current police force, the COPS program should also take local crime rates into consideration and allow cities with the highest crime rates to apply for funding to hire officers beyond the current cap. The COPS Hiring Program is a god-send for communities around New York State, but it makes zero sense to limit a city like Newburgh who needs these funds more than most.”
Schumer explained that the City of Newburgh has the highest violent crime rate in New York and, without stronger ties at the community and residential levels, the CNPD faces challenges in gathering information and resolving crimes. According to the department, when shootings do occur, victims and residents are more likely to share information with officers who they have come to know and trust. Therefore, Schumer is pushing to secure $500,000 in federal funds so the CNPD can hire four additional officers and improve its community relations by increasing patrols in areas with high incidences of violent crime and working with local residents and businesses to foster trust and cooperation. The City of Newburgh would contribute $600,000 to the four new officers – bringing the entire investment to $1.1 million for the CNPD. Any information retrieved by police officers will support investigations and help the CNPD solve crimes, and will be an integral part of the department’s response to the city’s violent crime problem.
To underscore his support for this effort, Schumer recently called Attorney General Loretta Lynch to urge that the federal DOJ to approve this funding for Newburgh. Schumer made the case that this funding is critical for the City of Newburgh, as it will allow the department to compound its recent efforts to curb violent crime by increasing patrols and community relations building, which started with the Schumer-secured funding to hire four new officers back in 2014.
Schumer has long fought to bring critical federal funds to the City of Newburgh in an effort to curb crime rates. In September 2014, Schumer announced that, following his push, the City of Newburgh would receive $500,000 in federal funds to hire four additional police officers for its force. Until Schumer’s efforts, the City’s police force had continually declined from 125 officers in 2000 to a little under 80 officers in 2014, despite a crime rate that is among the highest in the nation. Schumer said these four additional officers would bring the City of Newburgh’s total new firefighters to eight over just 2-3 years, and these numbers would greatly improve the CNPD’s efforts to curb violent crime and improve community relations.
“The City of Newburgh Police Department would like to send our deepest appreciation to Senator Schumer for his unwavering support and ongoing efforts to help our officers make Newburgh a safer community. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant would allow us to add four new officers to our department in order to enhance our many community policing initiatives,” said Daniel Cameron, Chief of Police.
Schumer also renewed his push to alter the CHP program so that it would allow cities like Newburgh to hire the additional number of police officers its needs right away. Schumer explained that, while the COPS program plays a pivotal role in providing the funds Newburgh, and many cities like it need to hire new police officers, it unfortunately sets a limit on how much funding a city can apply for that is based on the current size of the police force and not on the amount of crime. Specifically, the program has a hard cap that only allowed a city like Newburgh to apply for funding to hire the equivalent of 5 percent of its police force – which in Newburgh’s case was approximately 4 officers in 2014 and now again in 2016. Schumer said that this arbitrary limit unfairly restricts small cities like Newburgh, which has a dwindling police force and high crime rate, from applying for the amount of funding it truly needs. Instead of limiting cities to only being able to apply for the funding needed to hire the equivalent of 5 percent of its current force, Schumer urged the DOJ to incorporate local crime rates when setting its limits for how much funding any one city can receive through the CHP. Schumer began this push in 2014 and said he is still pushing for this change today, as an alteration to the program would allow Newburgh to request funding for the number of cops it truly needs in the future, rather than what it was previously limited to.
On top of these efforts, in May of this year, Schumer launched a push to secure funding through the DOJ’s Technology Innovation for Public Safety (TIPS) program, which would allow it to purchase a new audio sensing system called “ShotSpotter.” Schumer explained that this technology is used to improve police response to gunshots, as it provides data to law enforcement in real time when it detects the sound of gunshots. This allows first responders to more quickly and accurately locate crime scenes and victims. Schumer said this kind of system would require installing nearly 100 sensors around the city and, therefore, the DOJ must award this desperately needed funding for the City of Newburgh as soon as possible.
According to 2013 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Newburgh residents have a 1 in 16 chance of being a victim of a violent crime or property crime in a given year, a rate that is significantly higher than the majority of U.S. cities, large and small. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, between August 2009 and March 2012, over 106 Bloods and Latin Kings gang members from Newburgh were caught and tried in New York courts. Altogether in 2012 – the last year where comprehensive statistics could be found – there were 5 murders, 19 rapes, 307 instances of aggravated assault, 62 stolen vehicles and 36 separate shooting incidents that resulted in 43 people being shot. All of these numbers were up from 2011, showing that crime continues to be a problem in Newburgh, and that it continues to get worse.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to Attorney General appears below:
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the City of Newburgh Police Department for funding through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ COPS Hiring Program (CHP). Such funding will enable the City of Newburgh Police Department to foster and improve relationships with its community.
The City of Newburgh has the highest violent crime rate in New York State, and is one of 17 cities responsible for the majority of the state’s gun violence outside of New York City. The CNPD has worked hard to prevent and solve violent crime, and has received funding in the past from DOJ’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination grant program to assist these efforts. Without stronger ties at the community and residential levels, the Department faces challenges in gathering information and resolving crimes.
With funding, the City of Newburgh Police Department will work to forge and improve relationships with residents and businesses. COPS officers will patrol areas with the highest incidences of gun violence and work to foster relationships within those communities. As a result, when shootings do occur victims and residents will be more likely to share information with officers who they have come to know and trust. This information will support investigations and help the Department solve crimes, and will be an integral part of the Department’s response to the city’s violent crime problem. I applaud the City of Newburgh Police Department for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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