The Cameron Police Department will hire a new officer in the coming months after the city received more than $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The grant, which comes from the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services Office, requires any officer who is hired with the funding to have served at least 180 days of active military service. The program is a nationwide effort to hire or maintain positions that increase community policing capacity and support crime prevention efforts.
"Our veterans are some of the best workers out there and thanks to their military service, they have the training and skills needed for law enforcement," said U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "I have long been a supporter of the COPS program, and these grants should also help younger service members who recently returned from duty but are unemployed find fulfilling careers."
Cameron Police Chief Michael Younger said the funds, which total $100,201 to provide for one officer, are part of a matching grant. The funds will pay for three years of salary and benefits, while the city will contribute the fourth year's funding. The new officer will be the city's third, and will help bring back a weekend shift and extra patrol.
"Bringing a weekend shift back is the main thing, but it will also free up our other officers at times," Younger said.
Younger said the department applied for the funding two years ago and found out about the award on Tuesday. He said though the city and department will pay for the cost of training, that is a small expense in exchange for a new officer. He added Rockefeller and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., assisted in securing funds for Cameron and four other agencies in the state, totaling $653,000 statewide.
"They understood our needs and went to bat for us," Younger said.
The hiring process could take between four and six weeks, Younger said, adding there is no time frame for when that process will begin.