State awarded federal Justice Department grants
Beverly Bryant - December 4, 2019 3:47 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that it has awarded more than $376 million in grant funding to enhance state, local, and tribal law enforcement operations and reinforce public safety efforts in jurisdictions across the United States.
In Oklahoma, grants will go to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in the total amount of $2,915,894. The Department’s Office of Justice Programs made the awards.
“Crime and violence hold families, friends, and neighborhoods hostage, and they rip communities apart,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These programs help restore the health and safety of crime-ravaged communities by supporting prevention activities, aiding in the apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators, facilitating appropriate sentencing and adjudication, and providing communities and their residents the means for recovery and healing.”
The awards announced Wednesday support an array of crime-fighting initiatives, including the quarter-billion-dollar Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants Program, which funds public safety efforts in 929 state, local, and tribal jurisdictions.
Funding also supports sex-offender registration and notification, law-enforcement-based victim services, the testing of sexual assault kits, and programs designed to address youth with sexual behavioral problems.
Other awards will focus on wrongful convictions, intellectual property enforcement, innovative prosecution strategies, and the safety and effectiveness of corrections systems.
In Oklahoma, the Office of the Attorney General will receive $2,398,302 as part of the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (“SAKI”), which focuses on testing sexual assault kits that have not been submitted to a forensic laboratory and collecting DNA samples from qualifying individuals who should have a sample in the Combined DNA Index System (“CODIS”).
The OU Health Sciences Center will receive an additional $517,592 toward the work of its affiliate, the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth. These funds will support community-based interventions for youth with problematic or illegal sexual behaviors.
“Public safety is a team effort in our state,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing. “I’m proud that the Department of Justice can support law enforcement and crime prevention by assisting our teammates in state government, who are often best positioned to respond to threats to public safety.”