[StBernard] Landrieu Urges Restored Funding to Critical Law Enforcement Grants

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Apr 1 20:50:48 EDT 2008

Landrieu Urges Restored Funding to Critical Law Enforcement Grants
Letter signed by 56 other Senators requests additional money for the Edward
Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program.

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today joined a
bipartisan group of 56 Senators to request $489.6 million in this year's
supplemental appropriations bill to restore funding for the Edward Byrne
Justice Grant (Byrne/JAG) program. Money for this program is crucial to
preventing law enforcement layoffs and the interruption of hundreds of
anti-drug, gang and violent offender efforts across the country.

This additional money would restore the Byrne/JAG grant funding to $660
million, which is the same level that the Senate originally provided in the
Commerce-Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill that passed last
year. Following a veto threat, however, the Omnibus Appropriations bill that
finally passed funded the programs at only $170 million, more than a
two-thirds reduction from the 2007 level.

"Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the population shifts and dramatic
damage to infrastructure have led to a surge in violent crime and
significant law enforcement challenges in certain areas of Louisiana," Sen.
Landrieu said. "We should empower our officers with the money they need to
effectively crack down on crime and bolster our criminal justice systems. I
fully support increased funding for the Byrne Grant Program, which is the
only source of federal dollars for efforts to prevent and fight crime across

"The Louisiana Sheriffs' Association supports Senator Landrieu in this
effort to reinstate the Byrne grant money, because we believe that this
funding is essential to fighting violent crime as well as other crime in
America," said Hal Turner, executive director of the association. "We
believe that it has been easily proven through crime statistics that the
reduction of criminal task forces funded by Byrne grants is directly related
to increases in violent crime in America. As we support our troops in the
fight against terrorism, I believe it would be poorly thought-out not to
provide funding to fight the war against violent crime and drugs in

Each year, Byrne/JAG dollars fund more than 4,000 police officers and
prosecutors working on more than 750 drug enforcement task forces across
hundreds of urban and rural counties and cities in all 50 states. This
funding has led to more than 22,000 arrests, 54,000 weapons seized, 5.5.
million grams of methamphetamine seized, and the breakup of almost 9,000
methamphetamine labs annually.

Following cuts to the programs, law enforcement agencies, police and
sheriff's offices have noted that crime control will be negatively affected
by reduced funding, potentially forcing the closing of multi-jurisdictional
drug and gang task forces as well as other programs. Officers serving on
these task forces might face a pay cut or lose their jobs entirely.

"Fighting crime and making our communities safer takes constant attention
and a steady commitment," said Senator Biden, chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "These grant programs support the
police officers and sheriffs who walk our streets; task forces that take
down the worst criminals threatening our communities; community
organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs that provide a safe,
constructive environment for kids, and the drug courts and treatment
programs that literally save lives. It's time to renew our commitment to
these critical programs and restore the Byrne/JAG funding."

A copy of the Senators' letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the
Senate Appropriations Committee is available here
piv=1999906336.1639.395&gen=1&mailing_linkid=135> .

- 30 -

More information about the StBernard mailing list