Lewiston police get federal grant for school officers

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LEWISTON — A federal grant will pay for three police officers at local public schools.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has awarded $375,000 to the city to cover the cost of the new officers.

The grant will allow the Lewiston Police Department to maintain the department’s school resource officers. The grant also will allow the department to maintain its Community Resource Team, which works closely with community groups and is a leading resource in the Operation Hot Spots initiative.

“It will be a great benefit to the city to help serve a very diverse student population,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II, formerly a Superior Court justice in Androscoggin County and a resident of Lewiston.

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The COPS Hiring Program will provide salaries and benefits to the new positions for three years, according to a written release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in addressing their most critical public safety issues,” Ronald L. Davis, director of the COPS Office, said. “Funding from this year’s program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime and school safety.”

Grantees for the 2014 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates and their community policing plans. School resource officer positions funded by the COPS Office are sworn law enforcement positions that work within a school district or facility, interacting directly with school administrators and students.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of resources including publications, training and technical assistance.

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