Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has announced awards of over $56 million in grant funding awarded last month through the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to enhance state, local, and tribal law enforcement safety and wellness. OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and National Institute of Justice awarded grants to law enforcement departments, local jurisdictions, and training, technical assistance and research organizations throughout the United States. The funds will be used to provide services designed to protect officers and improve overall public safety. Acting Attorney General Whitaker announced the grants today during remarks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City.
“In the Trump administration, we back the blue,” Acting Attorney General Whitaker said. “One of President Trump’s first Executive Orders was to tell this Department to enhance the safety of America’s law enforcement officers–and that is exactly what these grants will do. We are providing them with bulletproof vests, body-worn cameras, training, and health and safety research. These grants awarded last month are helping us to take care of the men and women in blue–because they take care of us every day.”
“America’s law enforcement officers often risk life and limb to safeguard our communities, and the stressors of their jobs can cause a heavy emotional toll,” said OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth. “In fact, law enforcement officers have high rates of on-the-job injury, psychological illness, and suicide. These awards will provide crucial resources and training to help protect the physical and mental health of those who are dedicated to protecting the safety of our communities.”
The FBI’s official crime data for 2017 reflects that, after two consecutive, historic increases in violent crime, in the first year of the Trump Administration the nationwide violent crime rate began to decline. Despite this decline, violent attacks on police officers are on the rise. More than 60,000 line-of-duty assaults were committed against officers in 2017, a five percent increase from 2016, according to the FBI.
The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring officer safety. Over the past year, the Department has partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make American neighborhoods safer, including the invigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods and announcement of $30 million to help combat violent crime. Recently, the Department hosted a law enforcement roundtable and announced funds and technical assistance resources to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute hate crimes, and announced a new active shooter training grant to provide multi-disciplinary, scenario-based active shooter training to help better protect and equip first responders across the country.
More than $29.8 million will reimburse jurisdictions for up to 50 percent of the cost of body armor vests purchased for law enforcement officers; $12 million will support law enforcement safety and wellness programs, research and services; and $12.2 million will support the implementation of law enforcement agencies’ body-worn camera programs.
In addition, over $2 million is addressing safety, health and wellness priorities through research and evaluation. These investments include the development of ballistic vests, studies of in-vehicle safety, and the evaluation of less-lethal technologies to increase police and public safety.
For a complete list of individual grant programs, amounts awarded, and the jurisdictions that will receive funding, visit https://go.usa.gov/xPUfH. Additional information about Fiscal Year 2018 OJP grant awards can be found online at https://go.usa.gov/xnqk5.
The Office of Justice Programs, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking.