WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Several nearby police departments are on the receiving end of federal funds. Those funds will assist them in putting more police officers on the streets.

Northeastern Pennsylvania will see $1.12 million from what is called the “COPS Hiring Program.” That’s short for community-oriented policing services.

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D), 8th congressional district, announced the funding at the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department Wednesday morning.

“The COPS hiring grant is a very competitive award that gives money directly to law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire career law enforcement officers. Together, with these police departments, $1.12 million dollars [will be able] to hire nine police officers,” Matt Cartwright (D) said.

All police departments receiving funding are in Cartwright’s district.

“Although we’re a smaller department, we face the same challenges that larger departments see on a daily basis. We take pride in offering the best training equipment to be successful,” said Detective Sergeant James Wagner of the Pocono Township Police Department.

Wilkes-Barre City Mayor George Brown says the money will enhance efforts already underway by the police department.

“They’ll be utilized for things like community policing in the neighborhoods at the substations. We’re putting 10 officers on bicycles so they will be able to go through the neighborhoods and downtown,” Mayor Brown (D) told Eyewitness News.

Wilkes-Barre City Police Chief Joe Coffay says the funding comes at a crucial time in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We already have areas we try to concentrate on. That’s unfortunate for us because of COVID and other issues, retirements and so forth,” Chief Coffay explained. “So adding manpower to do a better job in those neighborhoods allows us to complete our mission.”

Congressman Cartwright points out that the funding is available right now, there is no so-called, “lag time,” to the funds.