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AG (202) 616-0189 TDD (202) 514-1888

CITIES GIVEN OPTION TO IMMEDIATELY HIRE NEW COPS UNDER CRIME BILL "COPS AHEAD" PROGRAM WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General Janet Reno announced today that the Justice Department will give more than 1,600 cities the option to immediately augment their police forces under a new crime bill initiative called the Accelerated Hiring, Education and Deployment program (COPS AHEAD) which begins today. The COPS AHEAD program will provide funding to jurisdictions with populations over 50,000 to start hiring and training a limited number of officers while their application is pending. The money can be used to fund a number of new officers up to three percent of the department's sworn force as of October 1, 1994. Funding begins once the grant application has been approved and the new officers have been sworn in, but departments may begin hiring and training officer immediately. The COPS AHEAD program was designed to benefit communities that are prepared to move forward in their community policing programs. Applicants may not compromise the quality of their community policing strategies or reduce the scope of their officer screening and training procedures. The accelerated hiring program fulfills a pledge made by Reno to the U.S. Conference of Mayors to develop a mechanism to expedite assistance to cities with immediate needs. It also underscores the Department's commitment to putting more police on the street quickly under the crime bill. "If you are ready for community policing and can maintain high recruiting and training standards, we are ready to help," said Reno. "Little more than a month after the crime bill was signed, we are cutting red tape to help put well-trained officers on the street faster than ever before." Participation is voluntary, and applications must be received by the Department no later than November 10, 1994. The Department will assist applicants to insure that their applications, strategies and training programs are properly qualified to take advantage of COPS AHEAD. Up to $250 million will be available to fund COPS AHEAD, out of a total of $1.3 billion available for federal police hiring assistance this fiscal year. If necessary, more money may be made available to accommodate the demand. Awards under COPS AHEAD will not affect a jurisdiction's eligibility for future police hiring grants under the crime bill, which authorized $8.8 billion for police hiring through the year

2000. Applications for these future grants will be made available later this fall. The applications for fast-track police hiring were sent yesterday and today to more than 1,600 jurisdictions whose populations exceed 50,000. ### 94-609