GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport police force may be growing, thanks to a large federal grant. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that the Gulfport Police Department will receive a $494,768 COPS Grant.
COPS stands for Community Oriented Policing Services. The grant is designed to help law enforcement agencies fight violent crimes in our neighborhoods and protect schools.
A spokesman for the Gulfport Police Department said the agency plans to hire five additional patrol officers. He said the chief can't comment on the grant until the city council approves it.
This year, the DOJ is awarding nearly $124 million in COPS grants to law enforcement agencies across the country. In the southern district of Mississippi, the Canton Police Department will receive an award totaling $127,191.
According to the DOJ, the COPS hiring program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides salaries and benefits to officers for three years.
Since 1995, more than $14 billion have been awarded to law enforcement agencies nationwide.