Justice Department Awards $87 Million to Enhance, Support Tribal Justice and Safety
The Department of Justice today announced the awarding of 169 grants to American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, tribal consortia and tribal designees. The grants will provide more than $87 million to enhance law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts in nine purpose areas including public safety and community policing; justice systems planning; alcohol and substance abuse; corrections and correctional alternatives; violence against women; juvenile justice; and tribal youth programs.
Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason for the Office of Justice Programs, Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson for the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and Director Ron Davis for the Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS) made the announcement while attending the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Annual Convention hosted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. ATNI represents 57 northwest tribal governments from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern California, Southeast Alaska, and Western Montana. This year’s announcement includes awards to 22 of the represented tribes at the convention. The awards are made through the department’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a single application for tribal-specific grant programs.
“This work covers every area of public safety in Indian country, from supporting children and youth to protecting and serving native women to the hiring of tribal police officers to strengthening tribal criminal and juvenile justice systems,” said Assistant Attorney General Mason. “The CTAS programs are not only critical to reversing crime in Indian country but are integral strengthening and sustaining healthy communities.”
The safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women is a top priority of OVW, and a clear priority of the entire Department of Justice. With funding from OVW’s Tribal Governments Program, tribes are able to develop and strengthen the tribal justice system’s response to violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women that meets the specific needs of their tribe. This funding has played a significant role in increasing programs and services available to tribes, and has both improved and increased the effectiveness of services provided by tribal court systems. This coordinated approach allows OVW and its sister grant-making components to consider the totality of a tribal community’s overall public safety needs in making award decisions.
“We know from our work across Indian country and elsewhere, that early intervention that interrupts or deters a pattern of escalating violence is the key to avoiding more serious and deadly violence in the future,” said Principal Deputy Director Hanson. “And it is the key to saving more women’s lives and protecting more children from growing up in a home where violence is the norm.”
COPS funding through CTAS improves public safety and enhances community policing in federally recognized tribal jurisdictions. These funds will allow tribal jurisdictions to expand the implementation of community policing and meet the most serious needs of law enforcement. With this funding, 21 tribal agencies will be able to hire or re-hire career law enforcement officers and village public safety officers. Funds awarded today may also be used to procure basic equipment and training to assist in the initiation or enhancement of tribal community policing efforts.
“I am pleased that COPS can help tribal jurisdictions hire more officers to help control crime through community policing,” said Director Davis. “These funds also support tribal jurisdictions by covering the costs of basic equipment and training. It’s a comprehensive package of support that delivers much needed help to tribal communities.”
The department developed CTAS through its Office of Community Oriented Policing, Office of Justice Programs and Office on Violence against Women, and administered the first round of consolidated grants in September 2010. Over the past five years, it has awarded over 1,100 grants totaling more than $530 million.
Today’s announcement is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing initiative to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.