The Columbia Police Department is beefing up its manpower thanks to more than $2 million in grants, with the goals of targeting gun violence and helping victims of domestic and sexual assault.
The money comes in three grants, two from the U.S. Department of Justice and one from the S.C. Department of Public Safety, according to a news release. They’re meant to enhance Columbia’s community policing.
“We’re so proud of the work they’ve been doing, and we’re excited to see how our community will benefit in receiving these grants,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said.
Funds from a three-year grant will cover salary and benefits for 15 new officers. The department’s application asked for these officers specifically to combat gun violence.
That’s also the target of the second grant, allocated over two years, and directed toward Ceasefire Columbia. That program started last year to address gun crime in the 29203 neighborhoods of Columbia, and works to deter people who are on probation or parole from committing firearms-related offenses.
“There is a significant need across our nation to address the rising tide of gun violence, and we want to make sure that all of the techniques and best practices that can be implemented to reduce our violent crime overall – but specifically those crimes that lead to fatalities associated with guns – that we have the resources to do that,” Benjamin said.
Funds from the third grant will pay for two victim advocate positions at the police department. These employees will help victims of crimes, especially victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
“So often, the voices of victims of crime get forgotten once the trial is over,” Benjamin said.
“The police department is very committed to preventing, educating and bringing quick resolve to domestic violence situations,” Holbrook said.
10TH ANNUAL MAYOR’S WALK AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Mayor Steve Benjamin, along with city of Columbia and other officials, will host the walk to bring community awareness to the issue.
When: 10 a.m. Oct. 29, starting from Spirit Communications Park. Open exhibits begin at 8 a.m., the Purple Rally at 9.
Cost: Free and open to the public, but you must register.
More information: (803) 545-3020