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St. Paul accepts $3.75M in grant funding toward hiring new SPPD officers

Funding from the Justice Department Community Oriented Policing Services grant will go toward hiring 30 out of 80 new officers this year.

ST PAUL, Minn. — The St. Paul Police Department will soon be getting a new batch of officers, thanks to $3.75 million dollars in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services - also known a COPS.

"We're really excited," said St. Paul's Mayor Melvin Carter. "We're always looking for outside resources to be able...to expand the power of our citywide tax base, particularly around public safety."

The funding will be matched with proposed American Rescue Plan funds - among other city sources. Mayor Melvin Carter says the funding will go toward hiring 30 more officers, but he says altogether 80 new officer hires are planned for this year.

The department recently graduated 55 new recruits, but is currently 100 officers short from its authorized strength of 620 officers.

"In the past few years, we've seen a significant decrease in the number of applicants who step forward to be police officers. So far we've been able to fill the vacancies that we've had," said Mayor Carter.

The grant funding is a part of a larger effort for community first public safety, something Rev. Runney Patterson, with the New Hope Baptist Church, and the '21- Days of Peace' initiative, says is welcoming.

"Being out here on the block, on the streets, in the skyway, we see the terrible things done in our community," said Rev. Patterson. "What the communities have been able to see are pastors, parishioners, officers out there in the community working together."

Police chief Todd Axtell put out a statement below saying, 

"I’m relieved to hear that Mayor Carter has accepted the COPS grant, which will go a long way towards helping our department keep Saint Paul safe.

Officers are the lifeblood of the SPPD, and they’ve been doing more and more with less and fewer for too long. Knowing that help is on the way is a step in the right direction.

Everyone in the city—people who live here, work here, visit here, officers and crime victims, especially victims of crime—deserves a police department that is staffed to its authorized strength. I’m glad to see that the city is moving in that direction."

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