By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
n mid-February, U.S. president Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a piece of legislation aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy. Included in this bill is $4 billion to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies: $2 billion for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program; $1 billion for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants; and other grants for state, local, and tribal agencies.
Below is the summary of the final bill:
- $2 billion for the Byrne-JAG formula grant program
- $225 million for Byrne competitive grants
- $225 million for Violence Against Women programs, of which $175 million is for STOP grants and $50 million is for the transitional housing assistance grants program
- $1 billion for the COPS Office for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers and civilian public safety personnel; the bill waives the 25 percent local match and the $75,000 cap per officer
- $40 million for competitive grants to provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement agencies along the southern U.S. border and in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the southern border, of which $10 million shall be for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Project Gunrunner
- $225 million for Indian Country grants
- $100 million to be distributed by the Office for Victims of Crime
- $125 million for assistance to law enforcement agencies in rural areas
- $50 million for Internet Crimes Against Children initiatives
The Department of Justice will be required to submit a spending plan to Congress within 60 days of enactment of the legislation.
The IACP has been actively working with congressional supporters over the last several weeks to ensure that the needs of the state, local, and tribal law enforcement community were addressed in this legislation. The association thanks all members who contacted their representatives to let them know how critical this funding will be to the state, local, and tribal law enforcement levels.
For timeline and application information on grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (Byrne and others), readers can visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/recovery/. For timeline and application information on COPS grants, readers can visit http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2108. And for timeline and application information on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants, readers can visit www.ovw.usdoj.gov.
For more information on the stimulus, readers can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Napolitano, Holder Confirmed
Former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano was sworn in on January 21, 2009, as the third secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Eric Holder was sworn in on February 3 as the 82nd attorney general of the United States.
Before that time, the IACP sent letters to President Obama endorsing Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder for the positions.
In a letter sent to President Obama, IACP president Russell B. Laine wrote of Holder’s background and how it will allow him to foster and enhance the crucial partnership among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. President Laine also sent a letter to President Obama endorsing Governor Napolitano’s nomination as DHS secretary, expressing that her years of service in state government clearly demonstrate her qualifications; she has the experience necessary to be an effective leader of DHS.
House Holds Hearing on Youth Violence: Trends, Myths, and Solutions
In mid-February, the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing about the myths and realities of youth violence. The witnesses spoke of the need to support and use evidence-based approaches to reducing levels of youth violence and gang activity through prevention and intervention programs.
Among the witnesses was Trenton, New Jersey, chief of police Irving Bradley. During the hearing, Chief Bradley said, “Law enforcement leaders’ commitment to putting dangerous criminals in jail must be matched by Congress’ commitment to keep kids from becoming criminals.” 1 He continued by stating that gangs simply fill gaps and that it is our collective societal responsibility to make sure such gaps are filled with positive, proactive programs.
The issue of gang violence prevention and reduction is likely to come up again in this Congress. In the last congressional session, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act, which the IACP supported. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate but failed to pass in the House.
For more information on possible gang prevention legislation, readers can contact the author at email@example.com. ■
1“Testimony by Irving Bradley, Jr., Police Director, Trenton, NJ,” Youth Violence: Trends, Myths, and Solutions, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, February 11, 2009, 5, http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/Bradley090211.pdf (accessed February 20, 2009).