The Ottawa Police Department is among several Kansas agencies receiving federal hiring grants for law enforcement and school safety officers.

The $125,000 grant for Ottawa comes from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Friday. Other Kansas offices receiving similar grants include the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, Leavenworth Police Department, Lenexa Police Department, City of Tonganoxie and City of Valley Center.

Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their community policing plans, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. There was an additional focus this year on agencies requesting assistance in developing school safety programs that would include the hiring of a school resource officer. School resource officer positions funded by the COPS Office are sworn law enforcement positions that work within a school district or facility, interacting directly with school administrators and students.

“In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release about the grants. “These critical investments represent the Justice Department’s latest effort to strengthen key law enforcement capabilities, and to provide communities with the resources they need to protect our young people. Especially in a time of increased challenges and limited budgets, our top priority must always be the safety and well-being of our children.”

Overall, the COPS Office funded awards to 263 cities and counties, aimed at creating 937 law enforcement positions. More than $125 million will be awarded nationally, including nearly $45 million to fund 356 new school resource officer positions.

“Keeping our children safe when they go to school is of critical importance and I am pleased to join the attorney general and the COPS Office in announcing these grants, which will help provide our communities with the resources needed to accomplish this vital mission,” Grissom said.