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 For Immediate Release
March 29, 2004

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES COMEY AWARDS $20.7 MILLION IN GRANTS TO HIRE 194 NEW POLICE OFFICERS IN AMERICA'S SCHOOLS

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Deputy Attorney General James Comey and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announce grants totaling $20.7 million to add 194 officers to the nation's schools. The grants are being awarded to 111 law enforcement agencies in 42 states and Puerto Rico through the COPS In Schools program, which funds the hiring of police officers who are assigned to a school as their community policing beat.

"Officers working in schools, and directly with students, can help prevent incidents of school violence, and can make an immediate and lasting positive impact on students, through their presence and through early intervention," said Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

The grants provide a maximum of $125,000 toward the salary and benefits of each new School Resource Officer (SRO) over three years. COPS also delivers training on school safety issues for each new SRO and an administrator from the school to which the officer is assigned. The training includes topics ranging from developing emergency response plans and conducting safety assessments of schools, to child development and cultural fluency.

The specific duties of an SRO are determined locally based on the needs of the community. Many participate in classroom instruction or become involved in extracurricular activities that enable them to serve as a role model to students.

"If you talk to any School Resource Officer they will tell you that their presence helps to prevent school-based crime and breaks-down barriers between law enforcement and youth," said COPS Director Carl R. Peed. "This interaction can lead to the resolution of many crimes committed outside of the school."

Including today's grants, the COPS In Schools program has provided over $700 million to hire and train 6,300 School Resource Officers.

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