Berkeley Township will be adding 10 new police officers to the department over the next couple years thanks to a $1.25-million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through their Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Community Hiring Program, Mayor Carmen Amato and Police Chief Karin DiMichele announced on Monday.

The town's grant writing team at Bruno Associates Inc. helped secured the awarded funding which will offset the salary of the prospective new officers over a three-year period, with Berkeley fully absorbing costs starting on the fourth year.

The new police officers will help the department’s community policing efforts and provide additional focus on combating effects of the Opioid Epidemic, which has been building up for years and include a #NotEvenOnce program led Berkeley Township Police Patrolman Scott Selby, Patrolman Scott Bowens and Sgt. Damon Papa.

They were trained by the Manchester Township Police Department with running the program for high school students and their parents.

The new officers are expected to be hired by Berkeley Township and integrated into BTPD over the next two years.

“We have aggressively pursued this funding to help strengthen our police department without impacting local taxpayers. With upcoming retirements and a growing population, the 1.2 million in funding couldn’t come at a better time,” Mayor Amato said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great nation with needed resources, tools, and support.  The funding announced today will bolster their ranks and contribute to expanding community policing efforts nationwide,” U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.  “A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their communities.”

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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