Police

Police to use $1.8M grant to combat gun violence

PHOTO: SacBee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The City of Sacramento received a law enforcement grant totaling $1,875,000 from the United States Department of Justice on Thursday.

The grant, awarded through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program, or COPS, will be used to fund 15 new law enforcement positions. The COPS hiring program is competitive and involves hundreds of agencies across the country.

The money given to the city comes as just a small portion of the total $139 million pledged by the DOJ as part of its push to support community policing – a tactic that encourages law enforcement to build relationships with the communities they serve in an effort to stomp out some of the underlying causes that can balloon into public safety issues.

“We are committed to providing police departments with the resources needed to help ensure community safety and build community trust,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The grants we are announcing today will enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community oriented policing programs.”

Outgoing Chief Daniel Hahn, whose job performance and role as Sacramento’s head officer drew attention following several controversial shootings, has previously advocated for the practice.

“We can’t just be there when we’re arresting people,” he explained in a 2018 interview with The Associated Press.

The grant is the latest of several monetary awards given to the department recently. On Monday, the California Office of Traffic Safety awarded the department a $400,000 grant to ramp up traffic enforcement measures like DUI checkpoints, officer training, and bicycle safety operations.

Officer Karl Chan, a Sac PD spokesperson, told The Update that the department plans to use the grant to combat the city’s growing trend of gun violence.

“Pending City Council authorization to accept the grant award and positions, SPD intends to deploy the newly-awarded police officer positions to increase capacity to engage in community policing efforts with respect to gun violence,” Chan said. “The grant strongly encourages creating and enhancing partnerships with organizations that serve communities suffering from high incidents of gun crime.”

Several illegal firearms are recovered every week by rank-and-file officers, according to department releases, and homicide investigations are launched nearly every day some weeks. According to police statistics cited by Chief Hahn on Twitter, 188 people have been shot this year compared to 146 at the same time last year. Over one thousand firearms have been seized.

On Wednesday, the department’s latest homicide probe was opened following a shooting near 5th Street that killed an 8-year-old girl and an adult man. The girl’s uncle, Tyrice Martin, has since been arrested.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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