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 For Immediate Release
August 28, 2003

ATTORNEY GENERAL AWARDS $21.4 MILLION IN GRANTS TO HIRE 176 NEW POLICE OFFICERS IN AMERICA'S SCHOOLS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced grants totaling $21.4 million to add 176 officers to the nation's schools. The grants are being awarded to 40 law enforcement agencies in 24 states through the COPS In Schools program, which funds the hiring of police officers who are assigned to a school as their community policing beat.

"We owe it to our children to provide a safe, drug free environment for learning. These grants put cops on the most important beat of all -- our schools," said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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

While the specific duties of a SRO are determined locally based on the needs of the community, a SROs presence on campus deters crime and violence, and provides an immediate response to occurrences that cannot be prevented. Many SROs also participate in classroom instruction on state and local laws, substance abuse, and driver education, or become involved in coaching and school activities that enable them to serve as a role model for students who might not otherwise have positive interactions with law enforcement.

"If you talk to any SRO they will tell you that their presence in schools deters violence, breaks-down barriers between law enforcement and youth, and can lead to the resolution of many crimes committed outside of the school," said COPS Director, Carl R. Peed. "This is why communities across the country have begun to view SROs as an integral part of their local community policing efforts."

Including today's grants, the COPS In Schools program has provided nearly $700 million to hire and train over 6,100 school resource officers.

For detailed information on which agencies in your region received grants today, visit http://www.cops.usdoj.gov.

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