9/22/2015 - Waterbury to hire 12 new cops thanks to $1.5 million federal grant

The Waterbury Police Department will be able to hire 12 new police officers and reinstate several beats thanks to a federal COPS – Community Oriented Policing Services – grant that will pay Waterbury $1.5 million over the next three years.

The grant will allow police to staff some specialized units and decrease response time for calls, Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick Jr. said.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro D-3) announced the funding.

Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary thanked Waterbury’s Washington delegation for the grant.

“As a former police chief, I’ve long understood and appreciated the need for and effectiveness of community policing,” O’Leary said. “These new hires will allow us to better serve our residents. We are grateful for the hard work of our Washington Legislative delegation to secure these funds.”

Senator Blumenthal said the funds will enhance public safety in Waterbury and vowed to continue “to fight for resources to support community policing and law enforcement throughout the state, for both aid for additional staffing and for the tools, technology and training that existing officers need to safely and effectively do their jobs.”

 “There is no city that has a better understanding of the benefit of true community policing than Waterbury,” Murphy said. “Today’s $1.5 million grant is a testament to that commitment.

“The Waterbury Police Department is more than deserving of the support this grant will provide to place 12 additional officers on the ground in neighborhoods throughout the city,” Esty said.

“I congratulate Waterbury for winning this award and look forward to seeing the new officers out keeping our neighborhoods safe,” DeLauro added.

“We purposed the grant for staffing our depleted specialized units. This includes the Community Relations Division, Motorcycle Unit, and Motor Vehicle Enforcement Unit,” Chief Riddick said. “This grant will also allow the department to reinstitute walking beats, decrease response times to calls for service, and provide unobligated time for officers to engage in proactive problem-oriented policing activities.”

While the grant will pay $1.5 million toward the hires of 12 new officers, the City’s match amount is $1.6 million over three years. The grant runs for three years, Riddick said, but Waterbury is obligated to retain the officers for one year after it expires.

The City will cover 52 percent of the cost while the federal grant will cover 48 percent. The City’s share will be $1,638,017 over three years. Adding the federal share of $1.5 million brings the total to $3,138,017.

Riddick said the grant to hire 12 new officers will bring the department roster to 300 sworn officers.