Congressman Ryan urges new president to protect grants for commu - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Congressman Ryan urges new president to protect grants for community policing

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Congressman Tim Ryan is urging President Donald Trump to protect a federal office that's helped communities all across the country put police officers on the street.

In a press release, Congressman Tim Ryan comments on reports that say Trump is considering eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

The office helps communities fight drugs and train police officers but, the majority of their funding goes toward putting entry level officers on the street at no cost to local departments for the first few years.

In Youngstown, Mayor John McNally says the city just recently entered into an agreement with the COPS Hiring Program for six new officers.

"We're finishing up a previous COPS grant as well, so it's a program that's been beneficial to us," said McNally.

Despite talks that the new administration could be considering eliminating the office that operates the grant, McNally says he's cautiously optimistic. He says, last week he attended a Mayor's Conference in Washington D.C. where Vice President Mike Pence said the administration wants to not only help provide funding for infrastructure improvements but, additional dollars for training and hiring of first responders.

"For right now, we're going to to give the administration the benefit of the doubt until they get into real specifics about what they want to do," said McNally.

In Niles, the budget has been under tight scrutiny. Captain John Marshal says the city's police department will be hiring additional officers to bring the department back to full strength.

But, he says if the COPS Program is eliminated any hiring above and beyond could be at risk.

"The good thing about the COPS grants was that it didn't actually require any out lay of capital expenses by the police agencies," said Marshal. "So in theory you could be approved to hire an additional two law enforcement personnel and put them on the road three years, completely cost free to the agency that is employing them under the condition they will be absorbed into the agency at the end."

In Ryan's letter to President Trump he says, in addition to hiring officers "the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force program and the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program provide critical support to state police agencies as they pursue traffickers or heroin, prescription opioids, and methamphetamine."
 

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