Monday, March 09, 2009

TOP STORY >> Area eligible for funds from stimulus program

Leader staff writer

Area cities and governments could receive $271,154 in federal law-enforcements grants.

Jacksonville is eligible for $146,917 in grants, Sherwood can get $66,835 and Cabot can apply for $57,402 as their share of more than $22 million in grants being distributed in Arkansas through the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. (See CDBG grant on p. 3A.)

The grants, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system.

Beebe has been allocated $13,849, Searcy can get $61,015, Lonoke is eligible for $15,023, Ward is eligible for $13,648 and England can receive $10,838.

Pulaski County can apply for $250,882 in grants, while Lonoke County can get $62,219 and White County can get $31,912.

“A downturn in the economy means an increase in crime rates. That’s why these Byrne grants, which strengthen law-enforcement’s crime prevention efforts in a variety of ways, will be key to keeping communities in Arkansas safe,” said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

The $22,192,057 in Byrne grants will be available to as many as 55 counties, 63 cities and the state of Arkansas. 

Recipients will be required to submit applications to the Department of Justice before receiving their allocation. 

“Providing local law enforcement with the tools necessary to keep our communities safe is critical,” said Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.).  “I strongly encourage all eligible law enforcement agencies in the state to apply for these available funds.” 

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) added,  “Law enforcement can put these funds to immediate good use that will help Arkansas.”

Byrne grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice for any one or more of the following purpose areas: law enforcement programs; prosecution and court programs; prevention and education programs; corrections and community corrections programs; drug treatment programs; and planning, evaluation, and technology- improvement programs.

“Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas, particularly in rural areas, depend on these grants to protect their communities,” said Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). “Agencies have used these funds to hire and train law enforcement officers, purchase necessary equipment, and develop policies to fight crime.”