The U.S. Department of Justice has announced $139 million in grants through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services ‘COPS Hiring Program’, and $500,000 of that will be going to the Alliance Police Department.
Police Chief Phil Lukens says the funding will allow his department to fill four additional positions for three years.
Lukens tells KNEB News the new officers will help make an impact by helping boost the department’s community policing model. “We don’t want to take reports, we want to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place. And having enough staff to be able to work the street helps us to be able to get those crimes not only reduced, but they go away,” said Lukens. “That’s because there’s enough programs in place, that people are getting educated, people are being careful. And when we do have an issue where somebody is making poor choices, we’re able to deal with them very quickly.”
He says the additional staff will also help keep community coverage robust when officers need to take time off for vacations, military service, health or other reasons.
Lukens says he’s hoping to get the hiring process started as soon as possible, but training opportunities through the state Law Enforcement Training Center are in high demand, meaning it could be well into next year before the new officers could hit the streets.
CHP is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing. CHP provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers, thereby increasing their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. The Lincoln Police Department was the only other Nebraska law enforcement agency to receive a new grant through the program.