$500K grant bolsters Norwich community policing program
The Norwich Police Department will add four officers to its community policing initiative over the next several months on the strength of a $500,000 federal grant awarded to the department on Friday. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. “This is a real coup, to be able to get this type of funding. It recognizes the good work we’re been doing, and this helps us continue it,” Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Sr. said. “We’re seeing results, and obviously we want to build on that.” Norwich is one of four communities in the state to win COPS dollars, joining Bridgeport, Farmington and Hartford. Nationwide, COPS funds will create more than 930 law enforcement positions using $125 million in funding. Norwich Police Capt. Patrick Daley wrote the department’s successful grant proposal. Fusaro said it could take up to a year for the positions to be filled as administrators recruit and search for the best candidates. “We’re looking for the best of the best. We’re not just going to fill four slots,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, commended the city’s police force for securing the grant. “Chief Fusaro and his team deserve this. The Norwich police do a great job protecting their community and have met the COPS goal of hiring veterans. He will make sure this award is used wisely to bolster Norwich’s public safety, which is key to the city’s future success,” Courtney said. Grantees for this year’s hiring program were selected based on their financial needs, local crime rates and community policing plans.
Fusaro said public response to the community policing program, which launched last October with six officers, has been positive and has led to a decrease in violent crime rates. Patrols monitor routes downtown and in the Greeneville and Taftville sections of the city. “It’s really making a difference in our crime rates, and it’s happening a lot more quickly than I expected, Fusaro said. “The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country address their most critical public safety issues,” Joshua Ederheimer, acting director of the COPS office, said in a statement. “Funding from this year’s program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime and school safety.”