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 a competitive program that involves hundreds of agencies across the country.

The money given to the city comes as a small piece of a total of $139 million as part of the DOJ’s push to support community-oriented policing throughout the nation. Community policing is a tactic that encourages law enforcement agencies to work more closely with the communities they serve to stamp out the various conditions that can cause issues with public safety.

“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 drew national attention after the shooting of Stephon Clark, has previously advocated for the practice.

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

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

Officer Karl Chan, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department, said the department intends to use Thursday’s grant to focus on 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 in an email to The Update. “The grant strongly encourages creating and enhancing partnerships with organizations that serve communities suffering from high incidents of gun crime. Some of SPD’s partnerships include Cops & Clergy, Brother 2 Brother, and Black Child Legacy Foundation.”

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

“Thru September, violence continues to rise,” Hahn wrote. “Number of people shot increased 28% (146 in 2020 to 188 in 2021). Number of guns seized increased 45% (868 in 2020 to 1,261 in 2021). Murders increased 37% (48 today from 35 last year).Collaboration is key to saving lives.”

On Wednesday, the department’s latest investigation was opened into a shooting near 5th Street that took the lives of 8-year-old Isabel Martin and an adult man. The girl’s uncle, 22-year-old Tyrice Martin, has since been arrested.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime and justice as well as issues of racial inequality. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822.

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