Mission to use more than $1M in federal funds for 10 officers

Mission will be spending $1,250,000 in federal funds to hire 10 more police officers to the city’s police department, according to a city news release on Tuesday.

The funds were awarded through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) Hiring Program, which announced a total of $40 million in grant funding that would be distributed to almost 600 law agencies across the nation.

Mayor Armando O’Caña said the need for growth in the police department is attributed to Mission’s growth.

“The reason why we need 10 more officers is because we’re in the process of growing,” the mayor said.

He said the city currently is working on five major projects, which are in the development and planning stages.

The projects involved several thousands of acres of land, he said, with each one involving between 1,000 and 4,000 acres of land. Currently, they have plans of building a subdivision with about 110 homes.

The mayor said about eight months ago, the city annexed 800 acres in the south region, and in November, has plans to annex about 15 square miles of land in the northwest area. Additionally, he has plans for a substation on the southwest side that is in the works for police and firefighters.

Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez said he is looking forward to using the extra help to keep the city’s streets safe.

“A police department’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,” Dominguez said in the release. “This grant will help our department with the resources and support we need. The funding will contribute to expanding community policing efforts in our city. We are thrilled to receive this competitive grant.”

According to another news release from U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar on Tuesday, as a member of the appropriations committee Cuellar helped secure $230 million for the COPS Hiring Program in the final spending bill.

“Our families, friends, and neighbors are safe because of our nation’s law enforcement,” Cuellar, D-Laerdo, said in the release. “Improving our policing system, not defunding or disassembling it, is the best way to prevent further tragedies from happening again. That’s why I worked hard to help secure funding for the COPS program for our City. This critical investment will extend far beyond the creation of law 2 jobs. It will strengthen relationships between officers and our community, improving public safety and keeping law enforcement officers on the beat.”

Monitor staff writer Berenice Garcia contributed to this report.