DOJ announces $400M in funding for new police positions, Wisconsin’s Western District receives more than $2M

Wisconsin State Capitol

MADISON, Wis. — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday nearly $400 million in grants for law enforcement agencies to hire new officers, and Wisconsin’s Western District received more than $2.26 million from the program.

According to a news release, the grants are part of the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ (COPS Office) hiring program.

The announcement comes in the midst of country-wide protests against police violence and the killing of George Floyd. Some local Madison organizations have called for decreasing police funding.

“The agencies receiving these funds will be able to increase the number of officers they have to address the most critical crime issues in their communities,” United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin Scott C. Blader said. “The focus on community policing will strengthen relationships between these agencies and the citizens they serve.”

Officials said applying agencies were required to identify a specific crime and focus area to spend the money on. It’s unclear what Wisconsin’s Western District plans to use the funds for, but 43% of the grants that were awarded across the country plan to focus on violent crime. The remainder of the agencies are reportedly planning to use the funds for school-based policing, opioid education and prevention, and building trust, among other things.

More information about the program can be found here.