Believing in the philosophy that we cannot merely prosecute our way out of crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota also engages in community outreach in an effort to prevent crime, address livability issues, and promote good citizenship. This work is done primarily through the Office’s Community Relations Division (“CRD”).
Department of Justice Available Funding Opportunities:
Annually the Department of Justice, through its component offices awards billions of dollars in funding to state, local, tribal law enforcement, as well as community organizations across the United States to address a broad range of criminal and juvenile justice issues. Last Fiscal Year alone, DOJ awarded over $61 million throughout the state of Minnesota.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the implementation of these crime fighting strategies. Because most of the responsibility for crime control and prevention falls to law enforcement officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods, the federal government can be effective in these areas only to the extent that it can enter into partnerships with these officers. To learn more about OJP and its funding opportunities please visit: https://ojp.gov/funding/index.htm
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. Community policing begins with a commitment to building trust and mutual respect between police and communities. It is critical to public safety, ensuring that all stakeholders work together to address our nation's crime challenges. When police and communities collaborate, they more effectively address underlying issues, change negative behavioral patterns, and allocate resources. The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing. To learn more about COPS office and its funding opportunities, please visit: https://cops.usdoj.gov/grants
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) provides federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. To learn more about OVW and its funding opportunities, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/ovw/grant-programs
Building Community Resilience
In September 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the creation of a pilot program in three U.S. cities that would bring together community representatives, public safety officials and religious leaders to address radicalization to violence. Minneapolis and St. Paul were selected to participate in this pilot program because of the historic and strong relationships between the Somali Minnesotan community and local law enforcement. Since Al Shabaab began recruiting Minnesota’s youth in 2006, the Twin Cities have been a focus of overseas terror recruiting by organizations like the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This cycle of terror recruiting has focused on Minnesota’s Somali community, which has resulted in Somali community leaders working closely with law enforcement and other community stakeholders to design the Building Community Resilience ("BCR") pilot project.
In February 2015, a delegation from Minnesota presented the Building Community Resilience Plan at a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Building Community Resilience includes a call for expanded youth programming, mentoring opportunities, higher education scholarships, new job opportunities and training, and increased engagement between religious leaders and Somali youth. This effort seeks to bring together community-based organizations and local partners, including interfaith organizations, nonprofits and NGOs, and state, county, and local governments. In addition to government sources of funding, multiple Twin Cities companies and foundations have committed to support the Building Community Resilience program. View the Minneapolis presentation here (link is external).
At the White House, representatives from the Twin Cities Somali community made various statements about the importance of the pilot program to our community:
- Mohamed Jama, Cedar Riverside Youth Council said: "One of the things we told the U.S. Attorney is that we need more mentors for our youth. For so long we have talked about the problems. Now is the time to act. And we are proud to be part of this Pilot Program."
- Imam Abdisalam Adam and Imam Sheikh Sa’ad Muse Roble said: “The peace, safety, and security of Minnesota are of paramount importance to the Muslim-American community, and we oppose any form or shape of violent extremism that threatens peaceful co-existence. We believe in the rights of all people to live in peace and security. Muslim Imams have condemned and continue to denounce anyone who tries to use the religion of Islam to support terrorism and we want to work with all Minnesotans to stop terror recruitment, while at the same time protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”
- Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame said: “What my community needs is no less than a ‘Marshall Plan’ tailor made for the Somali community’s employment challenge. This is what we’re working on building. Our plan includes extending skill sets; work force development, and job training with placement programs intended to significantly increase the number of jobs available to the Community. As part of the Pilot Program, we are working together with federal, state and local governments and local contracting agencies to increase job opportunities for our Somali community.”
- Mohamed Farah said: “At Ka Joog, we are committed to working with our community and government partners to break the cycle of recruiting and radicalization. We view this pilot program as a unique opportunity to engage our youth in positive programs. Providing more opportunities, more outlets and more connections for our Somali youth will help break the cycle that has drawn too many of our friends and relatives to a life of terror.”
As part of the BCR pilot project, $216,000 in federal funding was contracted to Youthprise to develop a request for proposals and award sub-grants. Funding was awarded through a competitive grant process to three organizations. Three additional organizations were funded out of private sector support. Youthprise also worked with community organizations to build capacity through training and technical assistanct. The final reports for all six grantees are below. At this time, we do not anticipate further direct funding from this office.
For all federal government funding opportunities please visit: https://www.grants.gov/
Points of view or opinions in these documents are those of the author and the organizations, they do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The U.S. Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorneys, along with other Office staff, regularly speak at schools and community meetings regarding the work of the Office as well as specific law enforcement or crime prevention issues of interest. Topics cover everything from human trafficking, grants and training opportunities, opioid abuse, financial fraud, and national security. If you are interested in obtaining a speaker for your group, contact Angie LaTour, Director of Community Outreach, at Angella.LaTour@usdoj.gov.