The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently announced South Carolina law enforcement agencies have been awarded more than $8 million for hiring to advance community policing. Greeleyville Police Department was awarded $97,124, which includes the ability to hire one officer but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

Under the stipulations of the grant, the town is obligated to provide 25% of the salary for three years. After that, they are committed to keep the officer on for one year outside grant period. Greeleyville Mayor Jesse Parker said before they accept the grant they will have to consider the city’s budget. “We are in need of another officer. The sheriff’s been good with giving us assistance from time to time but we don’t know what the future is,” he said. “With our small tax base, we’re going to have to find ways to keep that officer on at least another year after the grant period is over,” he said. Chief Marc Whitfield was hired in 2019 and has been operating without an officer. 

The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law enforcement officers. In addition to providing financial support for hiring, CHP provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to enhance local community policing strategies and tactics.  

In a changing economic climate, CHP funding helps law enforcement agencies maintain sufficient sworn personnel levels to promote safe communities.  Funding through this program had been on hold since the spring of 2018 due to a nationwide injunction that was lifted earlier this year.

CHP applicants were required to identify a specific crime and disorder problem focus area and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches to that problem focus area.  Forty-three percent of the awards will focus on violent crime, while the remainder of the awards will focus on a variety of issues including school-based policing to fund school resource officer positions, building trust and respect, and opioid education, prevention, and intervention. The COPS Office received nearly 1,100 applications requesting more than 4,000 law enforcement positions.  

The Department of Justice awarded 13 police departments throughout South Carolina more than $8 million through the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, which allows those agencies to hire 63 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. “I am thrilled that so many of our deserving local South Carolina partners earned these sought-after funds to boost the most critical tool in any police department: its people,” said U.S. Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. in a press release. “This will allow our sheriffs and police chiefs more officers to develop community partnerships, engage community leaders, and put other community policing features into place.”  To learn more about CHP, please visit https://cops.usdoj.gov/chp.  For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.

The remaining 12 law enforcement agencies in South Carolina earned awards:

• Bluffton Police Department received $250,000, which includes the ability to hire two officers;

• Camden Police Department received $326,644, which includes the ability to hire three officers;

• Charleston County Sheriff’s Office received $1,250,000, which includes the ability to hire 10 officers;

• Chester County Sheriff’s Office received $1,015,824, which includes the ability to hire six officers;

• Chester Police Department received $382,963, which includes the ability to hire three officers;

• Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office received $395,089, which includes the ability to hire four officers;

• Conway Police Department received, $250,000, which includes the ability to hire two officers;

• Hampton County Sheriff’s Office received $367,989, which includes the ability to hire three officers;

• Hardeeville Police Department received $250,000, which includes the ability to hire two officers;

• Horry County Police Department received $1,875,000, which includes the ability to hire 15 officers;

• Myrtle Beach Police Department received $1,250,000, which includes the ability to hire 10 officers; and

• Spartanburg Police Department received $351,762, which includes the ability to hire two officers.