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Press Release

Washington State Awarded Nearly $5 Million to Enhance Criminal Justice

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Funding To Support Local Law Enforcement As Well As UW Innocence Program

The U.S. Justice Department today awarded nearly $5 million in grants to improve criminal justice in Washington State, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  The largest grant, $3.6 million, will be funneled through the Washington State Department of Commerce.  An advisory council made up of law enforcement, corrections, treatment and prevention professionals at the local, state and federal level selects the grant recipients throughout the state.  Individual police departments also received $1.3 million in direct grants, and the University of Washington received more than $247,000 for its Wrongful Conviction Review Program.

            “These Byrne grants, named for a young police officer who lost his life in the line of duty, are critical to the mission of our local police departments,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “These grant awards are key to helping police forces with scarce resources so they can better protect public safety.”

The City of Seattle and surrounding jurisdictions (Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Federal Way, Kent, King County, Renton, Seatac, Seattle and Tukwila) applied together for the largest grant:  $635,618.  The money will go to a variety of law enforcement programs aimed at preventing and reducing crime and providing services to victims.  Tacoma and surrounding jurisdictions (Tacoma Human Services, Pierce County Sheriff, Pierce County Prosecutor, Pierce County Superior Court and the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel) also did a combined application.  The Tacoma group was awarded $286,619 for various community-based policing and prosecution programs.  Priorities include youth violence, crime prevention and community policing.

These are the other direct Byrne grants awarded today:

  • Skagit County $10,050 for their Victim Offender Meeting Program.
  • Bellingham $35,159  for their Active Shooter training for law enforcement agencies in the area to increase officer safety, improve integrated public safety response, and to save lives.
  • Everett $54,339 to purchase a variety of equipment including trauma kits, SWAT training, ballistic shields, license plate readers and life vests.
  • Clark County $92,769 and surrounding jurisdictions will use the grant for equipment and technology including a crime reporting and analysis system, ammunition, protective gear and a criminal and jail records system
  • Thurston County $31,922 for computer equipment; case management transition and implementations; visual aid equipment; and training.
  • University Place $10,323 to support community-based programs.  Funds will be used for overtime and to augment crime prevention programs concerning personal and property safety.
  • Snohomish County $41,155.  The Sheriff's Office will use grant funds to support overtime costs incurred for training.
  • Bremerton $25,688 to preserve the community resource specialist who oversees the landlord notification, neighborhood watch, and crime prevention programs in the community.
  • Lakewood $59,756 to target the increasing crime of copper theft and identify and eradicate illegal scrap metal shops operating in the area.
  • Kitsap County $53,590 to obtain new equipment and technology to improve service and provide a safe environment for officers and the community.

Significant funding, $247, 593, was awarded today to the University of Washington Wrongful Conviction Review Program, known as the Innocence Project Northwest.  The Program provides high quality and efficient representation for potentially wrongfully convicted defendants in post-conviction claims of innocence.  The goals of this initiative are to: provide quality representation to those who may have been wrongfully convicted; alleviate burdens placed on the criminal justice system through costly and prolonged post-conviction litigation; and identify, whenever possible, the actual perpetrator of the crime.

The Byrne Grants are named in honor of New York City Police Officer Edward R. Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty on February 26, 1988.  Officer Byrne was just 22-years-old.  The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers this program, which allows state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the justice system.

Updated March 23, 2015