North Charleston awarded federal grant to hire 15 neighborhood police officers

The North Charleston Police Department will use a nearly $1.9 million federal grant to add 15 new neighborhood resource officers.

“The officers will be assigned to neighborhoods to establish stronger relationships with the community,” said Mayor Keith Summey. The department currently has seven such officers.

Having officers on long-term assignments within the same neighborhood has proven to build trust between the officer and residents, he said. The officers also work with other divisions of the city, including Code Enforcement, Sanitation, Building Inspection and others to improve the livability of these communities.

“The North Charleston Police Department is constantly looking for ways to bond with the community, build trust and provide the highest level of public safety as possible,” Summey said.

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, grants announced Monday will support salaries and benefits for the community police officers for three years.

Summey said it will probably be four to six months before the officers are hired.

This year’s grant applicants were asked to stress how they would use the funds to build trust in their communities or boost school resource officer programs, according to the Justice Department.

North Charleston’s award of $1,875,000 was more than the combined amounts that five other South Carolina agencies will receive this year. The city of North Charleston will provide a $1.3 million match for the grant and will absorb the cost of the officers’ salaries and fringe benefits after the completion of the grant.

In all, six police agencies in South Carolina will get more than $2.8 million. Summerville, Darlington, Hartsville, Yemassee and York were the other recipients.