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FACT SHEET: Investing in Public Safety

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                March 6, 2009
FACT SHEET: Investing in Public Safety
Today President Barack Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are making available $2 billion Recovery Act 2009 funding allocations for state and local law enforcement and criminal justice assistance, available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
This funding will be used to help communities keep their neighborhoods safer with more cops, prosecutors, and probation officers; more radios and equipment; more help for crime victims and more crime prevention programs for youth.
JAG Program funds can be used for a variety of efforts such as hiring law enforcement officers; supporting drug and gang task forces; funding crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and supporting courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
The procedure for allocating JAG grants is based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics, in combination with a minimum allocation to ensure that each state and territory receives an appropriate share of funding.
  • 60 % of the allocation is awarded directly to a state and 40% is set aside for units of local government. 
  •  Funding will be used by states and more than 5,000 local communities to enhance their ability to protect communities and combat crime.
The Recovery Act includes more than $4 billion overall to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement and for other criminal justice activities that help to prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system in the United States while supporting the creation of jobs and much needed resources for states and local communities.
To see the breakdown of JAG allocations for states, territories, and units of local government, visit
Because of these funds, 25 police recruits in Columbus, Ohio are graduating today, after they learned in January that instead of being sworn-in as officers they would be let go. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman announced last week that he would use money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay the recruits’ salaries so they could keep their jobs.
Here are other examples of how the money will be used:
  • In Providence, RI, Police Chief Dean Esserman intends to use the Recovery Act funding for operational overtime, focusing on the violence reduction efforts he has ongoing. His priorities are gun violence reduction and gang violence prevention – and the extra funding to provide for preventive patrol will be so useful.
  • Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says his number one priority for use of the Byrne JAG funding in the Recovery Act is to retain cops who he would otherwise have to fire because of severe municipal funding cutbacks. His second priority is hiring of civilians in the police department to free up sworn officers.
  • The New Jersey State Police is looking to hire crime analysts for its all-crimes all-hazards Fusion Center. This will allow the State Police to keep sworn officers on the street and to develop tactical approaches for fighting gun and drug trafficking, as well as gang violence and terrorism threats. The analysts are the backbone of the Fusion Center and their work supports the troopers, as well as 500 local chiefs and sheriffs.
  • A priority for the San Jose Police Department with its Byrne JAG funds would like to upgrade its Records Management System to improve allocation of patrol officer and investigative resources. San Jose’s upgraded records management system will help the department report, map, analyze, and predict crime patterns, and will serve as a force multiplier to solve crime in real time.
  • White Plains, NY intends to use its Recovery Act funds to ensure that its Youth Violence Reduction Program can continue. This program has been instrumental in reducing juvenile crime in the city; officer overtime has been critical to the initiative’s success. The city also would use some of the funding to hire civilian crime analysts and dispatchers for the Police Department, allowing more cops to be out on the street. These civilian hires would save the city money, since they cost less than would sworn officers.
  • The City of Bowling Green, KY would like to use its Byrne JAG funds to upgrade and enhance its radio telecommunications infrastructure. The current radio system is over 14 years old and is in much need of upgrades.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio - Hamilton County intends to use its JAG to maintain a successful violence reduction program, based on an evidence-based model. Additional funds will support overtime for Cincinnati Police officers who provide intense oversight for the individuals in the program.
  • The State of Maine is considering using these funds to restore seven drug agents and two drug prosecutors as part of their statewide multi-jurisdictional task force. Additionally, these funds would assist in establishing an integrated criminal justice system that links the courts, corrections, criminal history records, dispatchers, law enforcement, and all prosecutors statewide.
  • Iowa has begun an accelerated, competitive grant application process consistent with priorities set forth in Iowa's Drug Control Strategy. The State of Iowa has recently had deep local and state budget cuts. Much of the JAG Recovery Act funding is anticipated to save criminal justice jobs such as drug enforcement officers and offender treatment professionals, as well as community drug and crime prevention jobs.
  • Savannah, Georgia Police Department would use the Byrne JAG funds for crime and intelligence analysts. The stimulus funding would also be targeted for juvenile prevention and intervention efforts in Savannah. The department intends to bridge the school resource and community gaps by adding police officers specifically to work with the schools and communities. The Recovery Act JAG funding will also be critical to continue training, equipping, staffing and deploying violent crime task forces.
  • Long Beach, California Police Department - The Recovery Act funding will be instrumental in funding 17,000 hours of front-line law enforcement overtime allowing the police department to increase police presence in high crime areas. JAG stimulus funding will allow the Long Beach Police Department to procure and install 330 new mobile radios in their police vehicles to further regional communications interoperability.
  • Over the past several years, many crime prevention programs in West Haven, Connecticut were eliminated and significantly curtailed or reduced because of budget cuts. As a result of these actions, West Haven, Connecticut saw a steady decline in the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Today, because of the Recovery Act funding, West Haven, Connecticut will be able to re-establish these programs to protect their citizens. West Haven will now be able to establish gang and gun task forces to focus on these and other serious crimes that their neighborhoods are facing. They also will be able to assign additional resource officers to their public schools and provide additional crime prevention and quality of life officers to work with the community.
  • Story County, Iowa would use Byrne JAG funds to bring their two Drug Task Force Deputies salaries back up to where they were originally, as well as to bring back the drug prosecutor. They also would utilize funds for buy money and equipment for which they have been seriously lacking since funding had been so greatly reduced.
  • San Francisco Police Department would use the Byrne JAG funds for violence reduction saturation patrols in the highest crime areas, partnering with the District Attorney, adult and juvenile probation, state parole, and community courts. The focus would be on the drugs, guns, and gangs that fuel the violence in the city. Funds also would be used for targeted law enforcement efforts to include foot patrols in specific areas of the city and expanding officers in low-income housing developments. The San Francisco PD will also be able to put more of a concentrated effort on juvenile justice prevention and intervention – specifically focused on after school activities.
  • Chief Rick Myers of Colorado Springs would fund civilian positions that have been cut. These non sworn positions provide a wide degree of flexibility to the agency at a reduced cost to taxpayers. He also is looking at using funds to purchase technology to provide service at a lower cost.
  • In suburban West Jordan, Utah, one of the fastest growing cities in Utah, the Police Department will use Byrne JAG Funds to install 39 in-car digital camera systems in police cruisers, as well as purchase 70 mobile communication systems. These advances in technology will not only fund as many as 15 local jobs, but will also assist local patrol officers’ work by providing them quick and reliable access to information from any location city-wide, enabling faster response times to criminal activity.
  • Fresno County Sheriff’s Office would use Byrne JAG funding to purchase equipment and supplies for their SWAT and Training Units, as well as for the Law Enforcement Augmentation Equipment Program for explosives, supplies, and tools for their Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit. Fresno County also would use funds to purchase equipment to improve the use of their Explosive Ordnance Disposal and SWAT robot, which is used in tactical situations that require the use of the robot in diverse environmental conditions. They also would fund salaries for narcotics officers, as well as purchase and equip special operation vehicles.
  • Butler County, Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Office would use Byrne JAG funds for construction of a secure entrance for prison transports into the courthouse, to hire additional correctional staff, and to expand warrants services.
  • The State of Wisconsin intends to use much of the Recovery Act funds to create jobs in the private non-profit community service sector, as well as in community- based treatment services. The state plans to add jobs in the Department of Corrections to coordinate and manage community-based corrections activities. (Note: The State of Wisconsin’s plans are not yet finalized, but the intention is to make a substantial investment in their "Justice Reinvestment Initiative.")
  • Among a number of other activities, the State of Tennessee is considering to improve its Judicial District Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. Specifically, this funding will assist with expanding the number of people for Drug Interdiction Units as well as other task force sections. Additionally, this funding would be instrumental in expanding existing reentry programs in the state and hire additional people to work in these programs.
  • The State of New York is considering investing in juvenile reentry initiatives for after care programs and reentry services, such as family reunification programs, job placement of offenders re-entering the community, and residential stabilization through building of housing. Funds also would be used to restore prosecution and defense program reductions that have occurred in the last year. Juvenile justice programs for prevention and school-based programs also could be restored with jobs and services retained. Local crime labs could develop crime analysis/intelligence teams with the District Attorney, local law enforcement, and research centers.
  • In North Richland Hills, TX, a suburb community of Fort Worth, Byrne JAG would be used to construct a Regional Public Safety Training Facility that would provide access to much needed training for area police and fire departments. In addition, monies would be used to fund new positions, including a Family Resource Coordinator who would provide outreach to at-risk families to help prevent abuse and neglect by providing immediate short-term interventions and counseling.
  • The Burlington, VT, Police Department is excited about using the Byrne JAG funding to create a number of new positions, to include a "Volunteer in Service Policing" Coordinator. This new civilian position would free up sworn law enforcement officers to return to regular duties, and it would expand efforts to utilize volunteers to provide a wide array of services to the community. In addition, Burlington intends to create two Social Service Practitioner jobs to specialize in mental health and substance abuse interventions during initial emergency calls. These new positions will allow the town of Burlington, Vermont, to provide robust and continual support to members of the community who are in a regular crisis.