Grant Announcement News Conference
Earlier today, Fitchburg Police Chief Alfonso Morales was joined by elected officials and community partners to announce a recent grant award from the United States Department of Justice COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Office. The grant award will provide funding assistance to hire five new police officers.
You can view the full news conference here
Selected remarks are available below.
Selected Remarks From Chief Morales:
“The City of Fitchburg is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse cities in the State of Wisconsin. The Fitchburg Police Department prides itself on maintaining exceptional police services and emphasizing community policing as one of our primary core functions in order to meet the challenges our community faces.The department has relied on our highly professional patrol staff to integrate our community policing strategies into their normal patrol functions.
This, however, has become more and more difficult as the needs and expectations of Fitchburg has outpaced our department’s capacity. With the annexation of the Town of Madison in 2022 and rapid population growth, our city has recently surpassed 34,000 residents, which places our department as one of the lowest-staffed mid-sized police departments in the entire State. Fitchburg’s growth is projected to exceed 40,000 residents in the next ten years.
This year, the Fitchburg Police Department was awarded the COPS Hiring Program grant for the first time in over 25 years. And the city was fortunate enough to be one of only eight cities in Wisconsin awarded a grant. We were also the only city in the State that was awarded more than two officers.
The U.S. Department of Justice, COPS Office, recognized the Fitchburg Police Department’s need for additional officers and our vision of enhancing community-policing strategies. This grant will provide the city with $625,000 to assist with funding five police officers over a three-year period.
Because the COPS hiring program is designed to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing, once these five officers are hired and trained, the goal will be to assign five officers to our Neighborhood Officer positions. These Neighborhood Officer positions will advance our community policing strategies and bolster our partnerships with community organizations, like the ones that provided their support through this grant. Through this collaborative partnership, we will seek contemporary approaches to address long-standing community crime concerns, public safety issues and quality of life matters. All while continuing to deepen trust with the community and reduce violent crime.
The Fitchburg Police Department would like to thank the U.S. Department of Justice, COPS Office, the United Way of Dane County, Oak Bank, State Senator Melissa Agard, State Representative Jimmy Anderson, and U.S. Attorney Timothy O’Shea, for your support with this grant, as well as your continued support of the Fitchburg Police Department.”
Selected Remarks from Fitchburg Mayor Arata-Fratta: “This is a great opportunity not only for the Police Department but also for the City of Fitchburg.I want to say thank you to the Fitchburg Police Department for looking for other revenues and grants under our fiscal constraints. We continue to support our Police Department.”
Selected Remarks from State Senator Melissa Agard: “With growing communities, it is vital that we ensure our communities are safe for the people that are calling it home, for our kids and our businesses. This is a good example of how we must continue to collaborate with multiple levels of government, as well as non-profits and community partners, to ensure that we are delivering on our promise to our communities.”
Selected Remarks from Oak Bank CEO and Chairman Robert Gorsuch: “Fitchburg is a super place to live and reside but without a strong public safety program, it wouldn’t be what it is.”
Shared Remarks from U.S. Attorney Timothy O’Shea: “The Justice Department is committed to providing our law enforcement partners with the resources they need to keep our communities safe. The Fitchburg Police Department has been a strong partner in getting firearms out of the hands of criminals and reducing violent crime and drug trafficking. This grant will allow Fitchburg to hire additional officers to better combat violent crime and keep Fitchburg safe.”