U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Warn of Online Child Exploitation During COVID-19 Pandemic
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – United States Attorney Jay E. Town, Northern District of Alabama, United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin for the Middle District of Alabama, and United States Attorney Richard W. Moore for the Southern District of Alabama today announced that the State of Alabama received $9,645,679 in Department of Justice grants to respond to the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The grant is available under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump. In addition, to the state award, over $4.8 million has been allocated to local agencies throughout Alabama, with $2,954,663 being set aside for twenty-five jurisdictions in the Northern District. Those jurisdictions can find out if they are eligible and apply immediately by visiting this website. The Justice Department is moving quickly, awarding grants on a rolling basis and aiming to have funds available for drawdown as soon as possible after receiving applications. Jurisdictions not listed for individual allocations may be eligible to apply for part of the state funding through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
“The COVID- 19 pandemic has created many challenges for law enforcement and our first responders to safely perform important duties,” Town said. “These funds from DOJ will be used to ensure that our brave men and women of the badge can continue the mission of safeguarding the citizens of our great state.”
“As the coronavirus crisis continues, every day law enforcement officers and first responders knowingly put themselves at risk of exposure as they do their jobs serving and protecting the community,” stated U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. “This funding will help the State of Alabama and numerous local agencies that are struggling with limited resources to address many critical needs. I encourage all agencies eligible to apply for funding to do so.”
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the public health emergency it created are sobering reminders that even the most routine duties performed by our nation’s public safety officials carry potentially grave risks,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These funds will provide hard-hit communities with critical resources to help mitigate the impact of this crisis and give added protection to the brave professionals charged with keeping citizens safe.”
The law gives jurisdictions considerable latitude in the use of these funds for dealing with COVID-19. Potential uses include hiring personnel, paying overtime, purchasing protective equipment and distributing resources to hard-hit areas. Funds may also be used to help correctional facilities cover costs related to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, sanitation, contagion prevention and measures designed to address the related medical needs of inmates, detainees and correctional personnel.
Agencies that were eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for the emergency funding. Local units of government and tribes will receive direct awards separately according to their jurisdictions’ allocations. For a list of all awards thus far, visit the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program webpage.