Police departments in Newton Falls and Youngstown are getting enough federal funds to hire eight recently-returned military veterans.

The U.S. Department of Justice is awarding Youngstown Police Department with $727,398 and Newton Falls Police Department with $125,000 through the Vets to COPS program. Youngstown can hire seven officers and Newton Falls one, according to a release from the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Those hired under the grant must be military veterans that have served at least 180 days of active military service, any part of which occurred on or after Sept. 11, 2001. The grants provide 75 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts, the release states.

"Too many police departments across our state have had to lay off police officers due to budget challenges, while too many recently-returned veterans have struggled to find work. We know that safe communities depend on the expertise of well-trained law enforcement officers. These funds will enable the Youngstown Police Department and the Newton Falls Township Police Department to hire highly-trained, dedicated public servants to keep our streets safe,” Brown said in the release. "These grants are a critical investment in the men and women who devote their lives to protecting Ohioans—both as members of our Armed Forces and as law enforcement officers."

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