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Mayor Brett P. Smiley and Colonel Oscar L. Perez, Jr. announce $2.5 Million Hiring Grant and $220,000 Training Grant from the US Department of Justice

Providence, RI – Mayor Smiley and Colonel Perez today announced the Providence Police Department is the recipient of a $2.5 Million Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring Program Grant from the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) intended to hire additional officers. This award is one of the largest awards in the country, and is further supplemented by a $220,000 COPS Community Policing Development (CPD) Grant that will provide officers with de-escalation training and further strengthen Providence’s commitment to building strong relationships within the community.

“Building stronger community relations is at the core of our efforts to improve our local public safety,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “Our residents have repeatedly expressed wanting to feel safer in their neighborhoods and through this grant, we will be able to hire more officers that can be present and visible in our streets. I want to thank the COPS Office for recognizing Providence as a leader in excellent community relations and investing in our efforts to build an even stronger department.”

The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grant advances the practice of community policing through hiring or rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers. The $2.5 million in funding will be used to hire an additional 20 police officers. This is in addition to the 40 officers that Mayor Smiley worked to include in the FY24 budget and that will be a part of the 72nd Police Training Academy. This grant provides 75 percent funding for three years of entry-level salaries and benefits, and can only be applied to newly hired, full time sworn officer positions.

“The Providence Police Department is dedicated to serving the citizens of Providence to the best of our ability. A critical part of that work is ensuring our officers are developing skills to avoid confrontation, utilizing de-escalation methods or distraction techniques as often as possible, and helping our officers quickly resolve conflicts when responding to calls,” said Colonel Oscar L. Perez, Jr.  “We are thankful to the COPS Office for providing the Providence Police Department with this funding that will assist to fulfill the necessary staffing levels and gain further resources to keep our community safe.”

The $220,000 COPS Community Policing Development (CPD) Grant funding will be used to create a larger de-escalation training program within the department.  In furtherance of this goal, the PPD will incorporate scenario-based training focusing on de-escalation, implicit bias, and duty to intervene. The PPD will utilize the VirTra virtual reality equipment that has the capability to provide training scenarios in these topics and procure a new service contract with VirTra to enhance current software. Funding will be used to pay overtime compensation at an eight (8) hour interval for officers to complete this training. This grant will ensure officers are able to participate in the trainings without disrupting daily operational staffing during assigned shifts. 

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