RI Delegation Announces $2.4 Million to Support Local Law Enforcement, Enhance Forensic Science & Stop Hate Crimes
New Byrne JAG grants go to Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, Woonsocket and other communities
PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to enhance public safety, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced new federal justice assistance grants totaling $1,297,839 for local police departments and municipalities across the state. The federal funds are made available through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The federal grants will enable cities and towns to prevent, deter, and combat crime based on their own local needs.
“We’ve got to invest in proven strategies to reduce crime and enhance public safety. Police officers play an integral role in keeping residents safe and I will continue working to ensure law enforcement has the appropriate training and resources needed to serve, protect, and implement community-oriented policing best practices,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) that oversees JAG funding. Reed helped increase Byrne JAG funding by $190 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations package, to a level of $647.7 million for police departments nationwide. “This funding will also help reduce wait times for DNA processing and help prosecutors crack down on hate crimes.”
“I’m pleased to work with the delegation to help equip local law enforcement with the tools to prevent crime and build relationships in their communities. Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to serve, and I’m committed to ensuring they have the appropriate resources to protect the public’s safety,” said Senator Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former Attorney General for Rhode Island.
“Since I was first elected to Congress, I have always supported efforts to provide our brave women and men in law enforcement with the training and resources they need to protect our communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “Thanks to this federal funding that I have secured alongside my colleagues, police departments across Rhode Island will have the necessary funding to uphold public safety, prosecute hate crimes, and enhance their forensic analysis capabilities.”
“Keeping our communities safe must always remain a top priority for any elected official, and these federal grants will help Rhode Island authorities do just that,” said Congressman Cicilline, who helped to more than double funding for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Program for Fiscal Year 2022. “These grants will help our local law enforcement agencies crack down on hate crimes, decrease the DNA test kit backlog, and bolster crime prevention efforts.”
The federal grants are being awarded by the United States Department. The Byrne JAG program allows units of the local government to support a broad range of law enforcement activities that help prevent and control crimes. Grants may be used for a variety of state and local initiatives, including: technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice or civil proceedings.
The following communities will receive Byrne JAG awards:
Central Falls: $20,404
East Providence: $17,854
North Providence: $10,680
West Warwick: $14,347
Statewide/local communities: $855,245
Additionally, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office is receiving a $400,000 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Program grant to investigate and prosecute hate crimes committed on the basis of a victims perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
The Rhode Island Department of Public Safety will also receive $293,954 through a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant. This federal funding may be used to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services and to eliminate backlogs in the analysis of forensic evidence. And the Rhode Island Department of Health will get $423,478 through the Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program, which helps state labs across the country increase their capacity to process DNA samples and enter them into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) CODIS DNA system.
Earlier this year, the delegation also helped pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed into law in June. This new law contains Senator Reed’s bipartisan red-flag law to help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people, cracks down on gun trafficking, and invests significant funding in mental health and school safety measures.