PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The U.S. Justice Department is giving Pittsburgh a $1.875 million grant to hire 15 new police officers, which the city plans to assign to its highest crime neighborhoods.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced the COPS, or Community Oriented Policing Services, grant on Tuesday.

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Pittsburgh is one of 215 law enforcement agencies to receive $124 million in funding for 950 new officers.

The grants pay for up to 75 percent of a police agency’s entry-level salaries and benefits for three years. The city must provide the other 25 percent.

“This grant recognizes, like I do, that improving relations between police and our neighborhoods is key to making our city safe and thriving for everyone,” Mayor William Peduto said in a statement. “This funding provides another tool for our new police chief to bring the problem solving methods afforded by community oriented policing to the Pittsburgh neighborhoods that need them most.”

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The grant comes as new Chief Cameron McLay says the city is analyzing where to deploy officers and trying to improve its community policing efforts.

“This grant award comes at a time when we are conducting an analysis of our workforce to determine how we can better deploy our personnel and enhance our community oriented policing efforts,” Acting Police Chief Cameron McLay said in a statement. “This will help strengthen community-police relations.”

The new officers will be assigned to Zone 5, the city’s eastern neighborhoods known for violent and drug-related crime.

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