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Economic stimulus includes $3.77B for state, local law enforcement

Editor’s Note: PoliceOne has obtained documents from the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, the IACP, and other sources from which we have generated the following summary. Because the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is massive (not just in its financial scope but in its physical length of more than 1,100-pages), we will continue to explore what this legislation means for law enforcement. If you have information on the impact this bill will have on your own agency, please email us.

DENVER — President Barack Obama today signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package within which there is roughly $3.77 billion for state and local law enforcement assistance programs. About a third of the total price for the stimulus package comes from tax cuts, the other two thirds represent spending aimed at saving and/or creating 3.5 million jobs over the next two years.

“This package ... includes aid to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of firefighters and police recruits,” President Obama said in Denver today during the signing ceremony that included Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Vice President Joe Biden, and other political heavy-weights.



“Thanks to the Recovery Act, thousands of additional police officers will go on the streets of America ... making the people of Denver and every other city in America safer,” said Vice President Joe Biden during his remarks.

According to documents obtained by PoliceOne, the stimulus package includes funds for “state and local law enforcement assistance programs, to be available until September 30, 2010. No administrative overhead costs shall be deducted from the programs funded under this account.”

Margaret Stark, a consultant who specializes in helping public safety agencies navigate the grant-writing process, tells PoliceOne in an exclusive interview: “With all the talk—both positive and negative—about the stimulus package, one thing is certain. There is great news for law enforcement included in this package.”

Stark says that with officers being laid off and hiring freezes in place across the country, the package “couldn’t come at a better time” because it includes funding for the COPS hiring program. “It appears that about one billion dollars will go into this program for State, local and tribal governments,” Stark says, adding that “unless law enforcement in general has gotten a substantial raise in salary levels, that will equal a bunch of jobs and will put officers back on the streets at a time when crime rates are already on the rise.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release issued late Tuesday, “This funding is vital to keeping our communities strong. As governors, mayors, and local law enforcement professionals struggle with the current economic crisis, we can’t afford to decrease our commitment to fighting crime and keeping our communities safe. These grants will help ensure states and localities can make the concerted efforts necessary to protect our most vulnerable communities and populations.”

The DOJ will be required to submit a spending plan to Congress within 60 days of enactment of the legislation. According to a DOJ document circulated before the signing ceremony, the breakdown of available Law Enforcement monies included in the stimulus package signed is as follows:

$1 billion to fund local police officers through Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program—these grants will fund an estimated 5,500 local police officers through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program

$2 billion for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants—this funding is “allocated by formula to State and local law enforcement agencies to help prevent, fight, and prosecute crime”

$225 million for Byrne competitive grants—these are “peer-reviewed giants to units of State, local, and tribal government, and to national, regional, and local non-profit organizations to prevent crime, improve the administration of justice, provide services to victims of crime, support critical nurturing and mentoring of at-risk children and youth, and for other similar activities”

$125 million Rural Law Enforcement—these monies are intended to “combat the persistent problems of drug-related crime in rural America. Funds will be available on a competitive basis for drug enforcement and other law enforcement activities in rural states and rural areas, including for the hiring of police officers and for community drug prevention and treatment programs”

$40 million for Southwest Border/Project Gunrunner—these competitive grants are “for programs that provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the Southem border or in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotic activity, of which $10,000,000 shall be available, by transfer, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for Project Gunrunner”

$100 million for Victims Compensation—in the form of “formula grants to be administered through the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime to support State compensation and assistance programs for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, homicide, and other Federal and state crimes”

$225 million for Tribal Law Enforcement Assistance—these grants are targeted to “assist American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, to be distributed under the guidelines set forth by the Correctional Facilities on Tribal Lands program. The Department is directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and to consider the following in the grant approval process: (1) the detention bed space needs of an applicant tribe; and (2) the violent crime statistics of the tribe”

$50 million for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force—this money is set aside to help State and local law enforcement agencies enhance investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children

Stark suggests that because there is presently very little money available for new projects or equipment, the stimulus package is “positioned to provide some relief for struggling agencies.”

Stark says that the procedure for distributing JAG funds to the states is based on population and crime statistics, with a minimum allocation to insure that each state and territory gets a share. She goes on to explain that local solicitation usually opens in early June.

For a list of agencies eligible for direct funding go to http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/08jagallocations.html.

Stark says that if your agency is not on this list, then you may apply for funding through your state and advises agencies to contact their State Administering Agency for information.

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