New federal criminal justice funding is coming to Rhode Island police departments and the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety (DPS).
In an effort to keep people safe and help law enforcement thwart crime, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner today announced $4,274,982 in federal funding to support local law enforcement. The federal funds will be used for a variety of programs to keep people and communities safe, including:
Combating fentanyl trafficking and expanding substance use disorder treatment and recovery services and behavioral and mental health programs;
Preventing domestic violence and assisting survivors;
Bolstering forensic science research and services and enhancing the tracing/tracking of firearms;
Upgrading criminal records systems; and
Preventing children from being victimized by online predators.
“From cracking down on drug traffickers to investing in cutting-edge technology, this federal funding will help local law enforcement keep people and communities safe. It will help ensure our police officers and law enforcement agencies have the equipment and training they need to effectively serve and protect and deter and solve crime. It will also help provide reliable, cost-effective and rapid methods for processing evidence and criminal justice information, and ensure that information is accurate, up to date, and widely shared across law enforcement and the criminal justice system so no one slips through the cracks and no cases are mistakenly overlooked. It also wisely invests in community violence intervention and prevention programs,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who helped deliver roughly $771 million for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program in the FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations law.
“Local law enforcement agencies protect communities across Rhode Island each day, and they deserve every resource available to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am pleased to help secure federal investments that will strengthen our criminal justice system, fight the opioid epidemic, expand behavioral and mental health programs, and support survivors of domestic violence.”
“We must do everything we can to keep Rhode Islanders safe, and this means supporting local law enforcement,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “I’m proud to announce this much-needed federal funding, which will improve public safety, provide resources for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, expand substance use treatment and mental health programs, and equip officers with the tools they need to protect our communities.”
The federal funding will be distributed to the state, as well as to local police departments and municipalities, including:
National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP)
$588,653 for DPS to improve criminal records systems. The funds from the NCHIP will help DPS and the Rhode Island Court System continue working together to ensure that the state’s criminal history repository is accurate and complete and also updated for Rhode Island law enforcement officers and dispatchers.
Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Program (Transitional Housing Program)
$500,000 for Sojourner House to continue offering holistic, survivor-centered approaches to providing transitional housing and support services that move individuals into permanent housing and help them secure employment and integrate into a community. Sojourner House will provide residences for survivors and their families through private landlord housing units. Sojourner House will collaborate with its partner, the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness, to offer transitional housing opportunities and follow up services to those in need.
Enhance Culturally Specific Services for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Program
$400,000 to help Progresso Latino provide culturally specific services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as the development of innovative culturally specific strategies to enhance access to services and resources for victims who face obstacles to using more traditional programs. Culturally specific services means community-based services that include culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities.
National Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program
$367,626 for state and local law enforcement task forces dedicated to developing effective responses to online enticement of children by sexual predators, child exploitation, and child obscenity and pornography cases.
Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program
$312,708 for the Rhode Island State Crime Lab to improve forensic science and medical examiner/coroner services. Rhode Island will utilize the funds to maintain and increase the scope of accreditation status of forensic staff and purchase a Captair smart ductless fume hood for the Forensic Drug Chemistry Laboratory to improve safety for the analysts working on illicit drugs, as well as new computer equipment in the laboratory for data analysis and evidence receiving.
Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Program
$255,000 for the South Kingstown Police Department to partner with the Providence Center, a behavioral health organization, and Thundermist Health Center, a federally qualified health center, to mobilize a co-responder team (CRT) in several local communities that is intended to improve and enhance public safety and public health responses to individuals with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who come in contact with law enforcement. Funding will support one full-time behavioral health clinician (Police Clinicians), who will respond to calls with trained Crisis Intervention Team police officers.
Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program
$197,621 for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (DOC) to support a residential substance use disorder treatment program in partnership with The Providence Center (TPC). The program offers a four and six-month treatment phase followed by a six-month recovery phase that can accommodate up to 100 offenders at a time. The goals of the program are to provide intensive substance use disorder treatment and recovery case management services to include discharge planning for those participants who will be prepared for re-integration into the community.
The Kevin and Avonte Program: Reducing Injury and Death of Missing Individuals with Dementia and Developmental Disabilities
$148,130 for National Autism Association Inc. to support its core safety program, the Big Red Safety Box, which provides resources and training to first responders and law enforcement, educators, and the families and caregivers of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or developmental disabilities, so they are better prepared to manage crises stemming from wandering and elopement within underserved populations.
Project Safe Neighborhoods Formula Grant Program
$85,329 for the Rhode Island Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) “Urban Corridor” Task Force to build on the multi-jurisdiction information sharing model previously established through the PSN program. This effort includes the Cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Cranston, Woonsocket, Warwick, and the Rhode Island State Police. This is a strategic enforcement plan focused on the individuals driving crime. The plan is based on the understanding that today’s violent criminals are highly mobile and interconnected by social media, with urban communities, both large and small, experiencing similar challenges. These common challenges have been identified as: Gang related violence; the rise in fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficking; tracing/tracking of firearms across communities; behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse challenges resulting in violence.
John R. Justice Formula Grant Program
$70,346 for the Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender to increase recruitment and retention of defenders and prosecutors by providing financial assistance for repayment of student loans as an offset to what are historically lower salaries than those for lawyers in private practice.
Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
$943,399 for the Rhode Island Public Safety Grant Administration Office (PSGAO), the state administering agency for the Byrne JAG state formula grant, to distribute to communities across Rhode Island for areas of greatest need.
$224,298 for computer technology upgrades for the Providence Police Department, including upgrades to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to allow compatibility with a new system currently being planned and installed at the Rhode Island State Attorney General’s Office.
$81,271 for the Pawtucket Police Department to combat the drug and opioid epidemic, mid-level and street level narcotic dealers, prostitution and sex trafficking, and firearm related crimes. The JAG funds will enable them to support long- and short-term investigations on the local, state, and federal level.
$31,505 for the Cranston Police Department to deploy multifactor authentication for access to both network resources and cloud-based services.
$21,481 for the East Providence Police Department to effectively implement firearm trainings and to purchase 100 law enforcement flashlights that will be distributed to new officers as well as officers that need equipment replacements.
$18,616 for the Warwick Police Department to purchase a communication app which will improve information sharing throughout the department as well as aid in communications during large scale operations. The Warwick Police Department will also purchase four Bola Wrap 150 restraint devices.
$17,453 to support the Newport Police Department’s 2023 Targeted Enforcement Program. Funds will support supplemental overtime details for police officers to focus on the enforcement and prevention of crimes, such as disorderly conduct, narcotics and alcohol violations, and ordinance violations in neighborhoods.
$11,546 for the North Providence Police Department to purchase pole cameras to ensure citizen/neighborhood safety and decrease criminal activity. The police department will also use these funds to purchase new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), which may be used in the event of a medical emergency for either a member of the community or the police department.
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