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Chicago Heights to Hire Veterans as Cops With Federal Grant

The City of Chicago Heights will spend just shy of $1 million to increase its community policing efforts with the addition of recent war veterans.

Some United States war veterans will get to become Chicago Heights police officers soon, thanks to a federal grant aimed at increasing the number of community police across the country.

The 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services Grant, offered by the U.S. Department of Justice, is awarding the City of Chicago Heights $500,000 to expand its community policing. But the grant has an important stipulation: It must be used to hire veterans that served in the military during and after 2001.

The City will match the grant amount with another $408,000 to put toward hiring four additional veterans, according to Mayor David Gonzalez. Both amounts must be spent over the next three years. 

Gonzalez commended President Barack Obama's administration for changing the COPS grant to require the hiring of veterans.

"(Obama) felt, and I totally agree with him, we need to give veterans an opportunity to become law enforcement officials throughout the country, including Chicago Heights," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also credited retired police chief Michael Camilli for helping secure the grant for the City in June.

"I want to thank Chief Camilli," Gonzalez said. "It was one of the last grants he helped us get."

A "nice batch" of veterans have already applied for jobs with the . Some are already taking the necessary tests, according to Gonzalez.

Gonzalez used the police department's bike patrol, which recently helped maintain security at the , as an example of what community policing entails.

"You see the bike patrol out there, it's very effective," Gonzalez said. "It's what community policing is all about."

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced awarding $111 million in COPS Hiring Grants, all with the intent of increasing community policing and hiring veterans. 

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Michael Nardoni August 21, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Please share with the tax payers of Chicago Heights How The City will match the grant amount with another $408,000 to put toward hiring four additional veterans? I'm all for hiring Vets as cops, But Dems have a track record of acting out of emotion because something sounds good or looks good but who pays for all this feel good stuff? BINGO TAX PAYERS!
jason amos August 21, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Maybe the Mayor is using the 591000 the city owes Cook County?Just saying
FinallyRetired August 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Hey Jason, I see you have not complained about your Property Tax bill on Highland. Is it because in 2010 your Tax bill was $4,391. Under Mayor Gonzalez 2011 Tax bill your bill went down to $3,788. A $600 drop !!! WOW !! Did you call the Mayor or Treasurer to say thank you. And Our Alderman Deabel Voted against the Property Tax Levy that was approved to get your $600 dollar savings. My tax bill stayed the same , so I was pleased it didnt go up another $550 like it did under Faso. As a Former Employee of the City and Resident of Ward 4 , Get your facts straight. Gonzalez was never the CPA for the City. The Fasos' and DeLucas' of the world didn't want him around. I wonder why?
jason amos August 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM
That wasn't my question,must be another Dave follower after this great budgit that was put together by the Mayor this year my taxes will double next year from the savings this year. Its ok to put your real name retired,or where you asked to resign?
FinallyRetired August 21, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Jason. I was not asked to resign. So you expect your tax bill to double to $7576 next year? I can't believe you actually tried to run for office. Your tax Bill can go up 5% each year for the next 3 years left in Gonzales term and it still won't reach what you paid for 2010. So next 3 years you will be crying about increases and by 2015 you will be paying less than $4,391 (your 2010 Bill). I will ask again... Did you call anyone at City Hall to say thank you?
jason amos August 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Read my comment Chief,I said next year with the saving from this year it will double. Example 600 savings doubled 1200 easy enough.My questions is where is the 591000 the city received?
Winston Wolf August 21, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I agree that Jason should say "thank you" to the entire Gonzalez administration!
jason amos August 21, 2012 at 09:20 PM
That will happen,NOT I would rather get my fingers chopped off with a rusty hatchet.
Winston Wolf August 21, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Mr. Nardoni, of course taxpayers will pay for these officers. Tax revenue pays for all city services. That is hardly a "bingo", rather a self-evident statement. This story is a positive one, and the fact that people can still get negative about hiring our nation's heroes is a sad commentary on our society. Great to see that our elected leaders are on the side of our veterans.
Winston Wolf August 21, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Jason, your obsession with the $591,000 shortfall is beginning to get creepy. Please attend a council meeting and get some closure, or maybe call to set up a meeting with Treasurer Dee. I'm sure he will explain it to you using simple words, and maybe even teach you to spell "budget"!
Michael Nardoni August 22, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I'm for tax cuts & less Government. If it means we do with less or without to save money or put more money in my pocket, Then that is what I support.
Michael Nardoni August 22, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I've witnessed Chicago Heights go from a great city down to a gang, crime, drug infested dump. and i've yet to see any mayor after the Panici administration actually do anything positive for the City. May I add it has got worse under democrat leadership, but I digress.
Lucy August 22, 2012 at 03:46 PM
TotallyRetired - I know people in the 4th Ward that had their taxes go up this year between $500 and $700. While some people in the 4th Ward saw decreases. I suggest we use the influence of this mayor to change the way cook county calculates property taxes so we all have a better understanding of how it is calculated and what factors may cause us to see increases or decreases. How in the horrible economy one house could see a decrease of $400 and another an increase of $700 is mind boggling.
Chester Rook August 24, 2012 at 12:38 AM
This is great and all, but how many officers will this grant produce? CH could definitely use the extra help. But what happens when the grant funding runs out? Is the city going to hire these veterans, only to lay them off later when the well runs dry?

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