The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Auburn Police Department were among five Western Washington law-enforcement agencies to be awarded money by the U.S. Department of Justice to hire new personnel, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle reported last week.
The Tacoma Police Department will also receive more than $43,000 for its at-risk youth project.
The Sheriff’s Department will receive $125,000 to hire a school resource officer. The Franklin Pierce School District will provide matching money to fund the position of at least four years. Auburn will get $625,000 from the Justice Department to fund five officers.
The money is part of the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program. The grants this year are focused on helping departments beef up their school safety programs.
“In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a news release announcing the grants.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said the department will hire a deputy to focus “on community policing and schools.”
Troyer said the department hopes to have money available to keep the deputy on board once the grant funds run out.
The federal COPS program gave $125 million to 263 cities and counties across the nation.
The Seattle, Port Angeles and Sequim police departments are the other Western Washington agencies to get money this year.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644