The U.S. Justice Department has awarded $1.8 million to the New Orleans Police Department to recruit and hire 15 new officers.

The grant comes at a time when the NOPD is struggling to stem attrition in its ranks, having reached a 36-year low in manpower in recent months.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said in a news release that the grant “underscores (the Justice Department’s) commitment to ensuring public safety in our local communities.”

“This money is critical to reducing violent crime,” Polite added, “not in select portions of the city, but in every New Orleans neighborhood.”

The grant money, awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, includes salaries and benefits for the new officers for three years.

“Funding from this year’s program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime and school safety,” Ronald L. Davis, director of COPS, said in a statement.

The news release said the recipients of this year’s awards, totaling $124 million nationally, were chosen based on their local crime rates, community policing plans and fiscal needs.

The grant money comes on the heels of a recent city announcement that $4 million that had been stripped out of the NOPD’s 2014 personnel budget as surplus was being restored to the department to purchase an array of new equipment, including new vehicles and body-worn cameras.

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