08.24.09

Vermont Awarded More Than $1 Million In Rural Law Enforcement Grants From Stimulus Package

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday announced that the Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS) will receive more than $1 million in federal economic recovery grants.  The grants were made available under Leahy-led provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), enacted earlier this year.

The grants are administered by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  The grant program is designed to help rural states prevent and combat crime -- particularly drug-related crime -- and helps to address rural needs.  Vermont DPS has been awarded a $130,000 grant to hire an intelligence analyst to support local and state crime investigations in Vermont.  A second grant of $1,055,000 will help facilitate rural justice information sharing and will allow Vermont DPS to add several justice information databases from state and federal agencies, create a link with Vermont’s behavioral health exchange network, and improve the quick exchange of information among front-line law enforcers, prosecutors, courts and corrections officials.

“Safe communities and sure-and-steady law enforcement are vital ingredients in getting our economy back on track,” said Leahy.  “This timely infusion of federal resources will help Vermont step up statewide efforts that are especially important to our continuing efforts to curb drug-related crime.”

Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Twice in 2008, Leahy brought the Judiciary Committee to Vermont to hear from state and local officials, law enforcement officers, educators and advocates about community-based efforts to combat crime in rural areas.  Leahy also invited Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling to testify at a January Judiciary Committee hearing about the importance of federal partnership resources to state and local law enforcement, and introduced the Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 2009 to provide grants to law enforcement agencies to fight drug-related crime in rural areas.

Earlier this year, Leahy led congressional efforts in successfully including $4 billion in the federal economic recovery package to support state and local law enforcement agencies.  Long the champion of law enforcement in rural areas like Vermont, Leahy also made sure that rural police agencies fared well in the economic recovery package.

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