A grant could fund four new Columbia police officers.
The Columbia City Council will consider a bill to accept a grant from the United States Department of Justice during its meeting on January 3, according to a release issued by the city Thursday.
The City of Columbia Police Department applied for the COPS Hiring Program Grant through the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services earlier this year. The program awarded the Columbia Police Department the grant in October.
The grant allows funding for four new police officer positions, with preference given to post-September 11, 2001 military veterans, according to information from the city. The new officers may be assigned directly to the Community Outreach Unit or could be used to fill vacancies created by more experienced officers being re-deployed to the outreach unit. The officers will focus on violent crime, specifically gun violence and gang-related criminal activities.
The COPS Hiring Program grant would provide $500,000 towards the cost of the four new officers' salaries and benefits for three years, with the City of Columbia assuming a progressively larger share of the cost of the officers with local funds over the three-year grant period.