Washington, DC - Monday, the Justice Department announced that the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) have awarded more than $61 million in grant funding to support the Attorney General’s Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP) initiative.
Launched on Dec. 18, 2019, ORP aims to intensify federal law enforcement resources into seven American cities with violent crime levels several times the national average – Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee.
“While violent crime is down across the country as a whole, some communities remain caught in the grips of violent actors,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “That’s why I launched Operation Relentless Pursuit last December – an initiative to combat violent crime in seven cities where it remains stubbornly high. Today’s grant awards are critical to our mission. We cannot succeed in eradicating crime without resources – the most vital of which are the brave men and women who serve and protect our communities each day. These funds will boost the forces that need them most.”
“Successful strategies to target and reduce violent crime are extremely resource intensive,” said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “There is no greater resource than additional men and women on the front lines of the relentless fight against gangs, drug traffickers and those that mean harm to our nation’s communities. The funding announced today is greatly needed for the Operation Relentless Pursuit jurisdictions and the COPS Office is honored to dedicate resources for this effort.”
“The responsibility for fighting crime and violence belongs to agencies at every level of government, and winning that fight turns on our ability to deploy our collective resources wisely and effectively,” said Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We are eager to make these funds available so that our federal, state and local partners can continue the vital and noble work of protecting America’s most dangerous communities.”
The COPS Office, through its COPS Hiring Program (CHP), awarded a total of $51 million to be used to hire 214 sworn law enforcement officers for state and local law enforcement task forces. The recipients of the funding will deploy existing veteran officers to task force duties and use the CHP funding to hire new recruits to backfill those positions, as practical. Officers deployed to Operation Relentless Pursuit task forces as a result of CHP funding must be sworn, career law enforcement officers of the awarded agency, and their work on the task force must benefit their jurisdiction. In addition, they are required to work with their respective U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) and relevant federal agencies to investigate and prosecute suspects involved in gangs, drug trafficking, and other violent crime – related issues.