BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Congressman Marc Molinaro is addressing the critical shortage of police officers in Upstate New York as he secures over $1 million in federal funding.

Molinaro announced on Friday that over $1.5 million will be delivered to the Broome County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, Cortland Police Department, and Norwich Police Department to assist with the growing law enforcement labor shortage.

The funding is available through the Community Oriented Policing Services program which provides direct funding for law enforcement agencies to hire new officers, provide training, and advance community policing efforts.

Molinaro is a strong advocate for the COPS program and aims to prioritize its funding in 2024.

“The ‘Defund the Police’ movement and demonization of police officers has driven young people out of the profession and pushed seasoned veterans to take early retirements. Now, we’re faced with a critical shortage of police officers. I stand with our police departments and am proud to be delivering $1.5 million to help them hire new officers and implement new trainings. This is going to have a positive impact on community safety by helping police departments hire and retain officers,” said Molinaro.

The Broome County Sheriff’s Office was granted $500,000 to hire four new deputies while the Binghamton Police Department is set to receive $250,000 to hire a new officer.

“This much-needed grant will directly fund our new Community Response Group, composed of Sheriff’s Deputies focused on targeted public safety enforcement throughout Broome County in high-need areas and neighborhoods. The safety and security of our community’s families has a champion in Congressman Marc Molinaro, and the Broome County Sheriff’s Office is proud to consider him a true partner in helping serve and protect the people of Broome County,” said Broome County Sheriff Fred Akshar.

Molinaro also announced that the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office has been gifted $400,000 to implement crisis intervention teams, which embed mental and behavioral health professionals with law enforcement and provide training to deputies to aid in a crisis response. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is receiving $152,436 to provide deputies with de-escalation training and both the Cortland Police Department and Norwich Police Department were granted $125,000 to hire new officers.