$355 million awarded in grants for public safety and justice services

(JHe Center Square) – An additional $355 million in grants is being awarded for public safety programs and services throughout Texas, including homeland security, border security, law enforcement support, victim services, anti-human trafficking efforts, etc. The money comes from federal and state programs.

“Texas continues to work to improve and strengthen the safety of our communities through comprehensive programs and services that help keep Texans safe,” Governor Greg Abbott said when announcing the funding. “This crucial grant will further strengthen organizations and agencies as they work around the clock to secure justice for victims of crime, protect against threats, prevent human trafficking and support emergency infrastructure. statewide, among other critical public safety initiatives.”

The Border and Homeland Security funding includes 350 awards totaling $60 million to help prevent terrorism and prepare for the threats and dangers that pose the greatest risk to Texans. These projects fund equipment, planning, training, exercises, and other activities for local, regional, and state agencies and build core capabilities described in the national readiness goal.

It also includes 94 awards for local border security initiatives totaling $5.4 million. The awards will fund overtime and operating costs that support an increased law enforcement presence to detect, deter and disrupt drug, human and other trafficking along and from the Texas border. and Mexico.

The additional law enforcement funding includes 239 grants totaling $15.6 million to promote public safety, reduce crime and improve the criminal justice system. The funding will be used to support personnel, equipment, supplies, training, technical assistance and information systems for criminal justice purposes.

It also includes 69 awards totaling $4.6 million to provide law enforcement officers with gun-resistant body armor and 36 awards totaling $375,000 to strategically support, grow and fund local Texas Crime Stoppers certified organizations. that help protect Texas communities. It also includes 20 awards totaling $12.1 million to support state and regional efforts to improve or maintain emergency radiocommunications interoperability.

Funding for human trafficking and victim services programs includes 64 grants totaling $25.3 million for short- and long-term residential services, advocacy and case management for survivors of trafficking human beings in Texas, as well as projects related to the investigation and prosecution of commercial sexual exploitation.

It also includes three awards totaling $1 million for projects that develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet-based crimes against children that encompasses forensic and investigative elements, a training and technical assistance, victim services and community education.

Additional funding for the justice system continues, including for district attorneys’ offices, forensic and medical facilities, juvenile justice, and violence against women programs. Seven awards totaling $624,000 were awarded to reimburse district attorneys’ offices for costs associated with forensic analysis of physical evidence.

Eight awards totaling $1.6 million for Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Projects were awarded to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services, as well as projects aimed at addressing emerging forensic science. Specific funding has been set aside for projects that support responses to the opioid epidemic.

Another 33 awards totaling $1.5 million were awarded to help medical care facilities with the training, equipment and supplies needed to earn and maintain the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam)-Ready designation as defined in Chapter 323 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Another 486 scholarships totaling $193.8 million were awarded to help victims of crime and violence against women’s services. The funds will contribute to restorative services and assistance throughout the criminal justice process, as well as efforts to promote a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to improving the justice system’s response to violent crimes against women.

Two other awards totaling $804,000 were awarded to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for costs associated with forensic analysis of physical evidence related to sexual assault or other sexual offenses .

Funding also focused on juvenile justice and absenteeism prevention. This includes 100 awards totaling $8.2 million to prevent violence in and around schools and to improve the juvenile justice system. It will be used to provide mental health services, prevent school truancy, and intervene in community and school programs.

Funding also focuses on substance abuse through 66 grants totaling $8.1 million. It will help support court-supervised treatment, intensive case management, and other services to help address substance abuse or mental health issues, among other initiatives.

The funding also aims to improve neighborhood safety and the security of nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist attacks. This includes 17 awards totaling $1.2 million for a safer neighborhoods project designed to reduce violent crime, including criminal gangs and criminal possession and use of firearms. It also includes 73 awards totaling $10 million for projects that support improving the physical security of nonprofit organizations, including synagogues, churches, and other religious organizations at high risk of terrorist attack in because of their ideology or beliefs.

Mark M. Gagnon