DOJ rewards Southern California police department for fighting human trafficking

California

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (Border Report) — The Chula Vista Police Department is the only police agency in California to be recognized by the Justice Department for its efforts against human trafficking.

Along with the recognition, the U.S. Department of Justice will award the city of Chula Vista a federal grant of nearly $100,000 for its continued enforcement of human-trafficking laws.

“We are excited to be the only local law enforcement in California to be awarded the grant. We are ensuring that any grant money we receive is spent well,” said Sgt. Matt Smith of the Chula Vista Police Department.

Smith said CVPD has not decided how the money will be spent, as it is still waiting for specific details in the grant.

The Chula Vista Police Department is located in Southern San Diego County a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County with about 270,000 residents and lies just a few miles north of the U.S – Mexico border.

The grant is part of a $2.2 million provided to police departments across the country from the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services. The grants range from $15,000 to $100,000.

“It’s a critical resource to advance innovative community policing projects across the country,” said Phil Keith, the DOJ’s office director. “These strategic investments from the COPS Office pay huge dividends to state and local law enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve.”

Chula Vista police officers detaining two suspected arson suspects. (Courtesy: KSWB)

The DOJ has said the money can be also be used on community policing, officer safety and wellness, recruitment and hiring, school safety programs and youth engagement.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where perpetrators profit from the sexual exploitation and/or forced labor of men, women and children. It is a violation of basic human rights, and it is also a crime as defined by U.S. federal law and California state law.

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