- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - A booming southeastern New Mexico city facing a police officer shortage is getting some help from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The city of Hobbs announced this week it was awarded a $625,000 federal grant to hire new officers, the Hobbs News-Sun reports (https://goo.gl/tPf96d).

Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall said that grant will help the force grow by five officers. “All in all, it means more personnel protecting and serving the community,” he said.

Hobbs City Manager J.J. Murphy said the city officials worked hard to increase the police department and ensure “adequate manpower” for Hobbs during the past three years.

“These federal grants will ensure we can continue the culture we have created, which has allowed the Hobbs Police Department to operate and function at a much more effective level,” Murphy said.

According to the Department of Justice, more than $107 million will be nationally awarded to local law enforcement through the COPS Hiring Program.

In addition to the Hobbs Police Department’s grant, the Las Cruces Police Department was awarded $1,125,000 to fund nine officers, while the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department received $171,987 to fund two.

A number of New Mexico law enforcement agencies have been struggling with shortages.

However, Hobbs and Lea County have especially been having a hard time attracting officers and sheriff’s deputies because of more lucrative jobs in the oil industry.

The area also is still struggling with finding enough housing for residents and attracting and keeping teachers.

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Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, https://www.hobbsnews.com

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