Grants give Valley law enforcement agencies border security boost

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar announced much needed grants to Valley police departments, and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's office also got a big chunk.It's called the COPS grant, and its mission is to boost security and create jobs something Congressman Henry Cuellar said it's essential for this border area."This means that there's more police officers and sheriffs on the ground that could provide more security," said Congressman Cuellar.Congressman Henry Cuellar along with officials from Hidalgo County and the city of Pharr announced the sheriff's department received a grant for $2,099,084 to hire 13 law enforcement officers."Not only are they going to be doing regular patrol duty, but they are also going to be assigned very specific community-oriented policing strategies," said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino.The deputies will also be trained as domestic violence intervention deputies.That's something the sheriff said is very important because 56 percent of all the aggravated assaults that his department investigated last year had domestic violence origins.The Pharr police department received $845,560 to hire 5 officers."What we intend to do with this funding in the additional officers is continue a program that we recently introduced and re-emphasize the focus that we have on our patrol," said Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas.Congressman Cuellar said COPS granted money during the first round, but the Valley was excluded that time."And certainly the message that we the board of legislators said 'hey this is not right how can you have this type of violence across the river and the border and we not get any," said Congressman Cuellar.The grants will be distributed over three years.It's given by the department of justice's Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS.Both the sheriff's office and the Pharr department said the money will go to good use, and it's sure to strengthen their relationships with the community.