CHULA VISTA (CNS) - The U.S. Department of Justice Monday announced a $750,000 to the city of Chula Vista to hire six recent military veterans for its police force.
The grant money is a portion of $111.2 million awarded nationwide by the DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, to hire 800 veterans. To be eligible, applicants must have served in a branch of the military for at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001.
Chula Vista was the only San Diego County recipient, and one in five in Southern California to receive the grants, which cover salary and benefits for the positions for three years.
Los Angeles received the largest grant in the nation -- $6.4 million -- to hire 25 veterans as police officers. Two other Los Angeles County cities -- Montebello and South El Monte -- received grants of $125,000 apiece to hire one officer; and Hemet in Riverside County got $630,000 to hire three officers.
"Since we got into office, the president and I have been committed to helping our returning heroes find jobs and transition back into civilian life," Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. "A lot of them want to keep serving now that they're back, and these COPS Grants help give them that chance."
The annual Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants were previously aimed at helping police departments maintain officers in the face of budget cuts. President Barack Obama in February announced this year's grants would go specifically to cities that hire new veterans.
"Today, we step up our support for recent veterans by offering them the chance to pursue meaningful careers in law enforcement," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "At a time of budget shortfalls, these grants will provide opportunities for much-needed, highly-trained professionals with a proven commitment to service to continue their careers in communities all across the country."
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