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Park Rapids will receive stimulus money for officer

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Park Rapids will be able to keep an officer after receiving another COPS grant.

Park Rapids Police Department will receive $179,326 over three years. The funding comes from federal stimulus dollars.

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Police Chief Terry Eilers said one of his current officers was hired under a previous COPS grant that expires Dec. 31. The new grant will allow the city to keep that officer, Eilers said.

Just 15 law enforcement departments across Minnesota will receive COPS grants.

"We feel fairly lucky to get that grant," Eilers said. "It will be one less worry with the budget."

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight responsibility for law enforcement issues.

During consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Klobuchar worked to ensure that the bill included measures to strengthen federal support for local law enforcement, beginning with the Community-Oriented Policing Services program, which helps local communities hire extra police officers or pay for overtime to keep more officers on the streets. She was one of the leading advocates for inclusion of the funding in the bipartisan negotiations of the bill.

"I've always believed that the first responsibility of government is to protect the safety of its citizens," said Klobuchar in a news release. "This funding will help law enforcement to prevent and reduce crime while providing jobs and much needed resources to local municipalities facing budget shortfalls."

Since COPS was created in 1994, Minnesota has received $135 million in funding, providing for over 1,400 additional police officers and sheriff's deputies and directly benefiting 367 law enforcement agencies statewide.

"COPS enjoys bipartisan support and it has a proven record of reducing crime by helping local communities hire extra police officers," said Klobuchar.

An independent research report last year by the Brookings Institution concluded that COPS contributed to the significant national drop in crime during the 1990s, describing it as "one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime." The report estimated that each dollar spent on the COPS program generates somewhere between $4 and $8.50 in benefits to society.

Other municipalities that received COPS grant funding include: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Big Lake Police Department, City Of Brooklyn Center, City Of Columbia Heights, Isanti Police Department, Leech Lake Tribal Council, Mahnomen County, City of Olivia, Township of Pike Bay, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Upper Sioux Indian Community, City of Waite Park.

The Department of Justice received over 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions, representing a total of $8.3 billion in requested funding.

For more information about COPS grants visit www.cops.usdoj.gov.

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