Published: Sep 27, 2013 3:34 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier and Hendry counties have been granted funding to hire additional law enforcement, including school resource officers.

Acting U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), today announced funding awards for the Middle District of Florida. The grantees and amount awarded include: Collier County Sheriff’s Office - $500,000, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office - $904,895, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office - $1,250,000, and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office - $1,250,000.

Overall the COPS Office funded awards to 263 cities and counties, aimed at creating 937 law enforcement positions. More than $125 million will be awarded nationally, including nearly $45 million to fund 356 new school resource officer positions.

The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years.

Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their community policing plans. There was an additional focus this year on agencies requesting assistance in developing school safety programs that would include the hiring of a school resource officer. School resource officer positions funded by the COPS Office are sworn law enforcement positions that work within a school district or facility, interacting directly with school administrators and students.

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.

For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.