Feds help pay for increase in San Antonio police officers

This is the fifth time SA has been selected to receive the grant

SAN ANTONIO – A federal grant will help pay for 50 of the City of San Antonio’s new police officer positions.

The grant of $6.25 million was awarded by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), according to a news release. The 50 positions it will help fund were already included in the city’s plans to put more officers onto the street this year, but the grant means city funds are carrying less of the load.

According to city documents, the grant will cover a portion of the officers’ salaries and benefits over the course of three years while the city pays $21.9 million. The grant funds do not pay for equipment or overtime.

San Antonio was one of four cities chosen to receive the grant — Houston, Detroit and Cincinnati are the other three recipients.

“Public safety is a priority of the community and City Council; we have a goal of adding 360 police officers over the next three to five years and this grant award will help us achieve that goal,” said City Manager Erik Walsh in a statement. “I want to thank our Federal Legislative Delegation for their efforts to advocate for our community’s needs. We are looking forward to welcoming these new officers to the San Antonio Police Department.”

San Antonio’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget was adopted in September and will add 117 new police officer positions to the San Antonio Police Department.

The grant will help pay for 50 of the new police officer positions, though Walsh had said during the budget discussions that the city would set aside money to fund the positions with city dollars in case the federal funding didn’t come through.

In a news conference Monday, the city manager said if the city had not received the grant, it would have delayed the schedule for five academy training classes.

McManus said the grant funds will also allow for improved relationships with the community and “proactive policing.”

“The San Antonio Police Department is excited to have been awarded this hiring grant by the Department of Justice,” said McManus. “This grant will pay for half of the 100 new officer positions that City Council approved in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, allowing our officers more time to do proactive policing and build relationships and trust with the community we serve.”

City officials said in a news release that they believe the grant will help improve call response times and could help “address community needs and concerns through traditional policing.”

This is the fifth time that San Antonio has received the COPS grant, according to city officials.

Shared below are the other COPS grants the city has received, dating back to 2010:

  • Fiscal Year 2010: 50 officers to enhance patrol services
  • Fiscal Year 2016: Four officers to augment the Mental Health Unit
  • Fiscal Year 2018: 25 officers to address violent gun crime
  • Fiscal Year 2020: 25 officers to address domestic violence

About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

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