Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun crime and providing those programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. The Bush Administration committed $901 million nationwide to this effort over three years. This funding was used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun violence reduction strategies.
Former United States Attorney Bud Cummins placed high priority on making PSN work in the Eastern District of Arkansas. In partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF), under the leadership of Jeff Brzozowski, and local elected prosecutor for Jefferson and Lincoln Counties, Steven Dalrymple, PSN was launched in May, 2002. Since that time, a formal relationship has been established with local law enforcement agencies and the prosecutors’ offices in Pulaski County and other counties in the district. This formal relationship provided an active federal and state collaboration resulting in a noticeable increase in the prosecution of gun crimes in Pulaski County, Jefferson County, and other counties in the district.
PSN has not only increased the prosecution and time served by those who commit gun crimes in the Eastern District of Arkansas, it has also improved the education and communication regarding the consequences of gun crimes in Arkansas. In Jefferson County, a program called SHOT (See IT, Hear IT, Tell It) has been used since 2005 to educate youths on the dangers and consequences of criminal activity. It encourages them to take part in keeping their neighborhood safe by reporting any suspicious or criminal activity they witness. Law enforcement officers present the SHOT program to all 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders in the fall of each year, and to all 7th and 9th graders in the spring of each year in Jefferson County. The SHOT program, along with a variety of public outreach/awareness programs of PSN, is making a difference in our communities in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
We believe that prosecution, education and communication all play roles in the successful implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods in the Eastern District of Arkansas.