FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES $10 MILLION FEDERAL STIMULUS GRANT FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES FROM POLICE OFFICER EDWARD BYRNE MEMORIAL COMPETITIVE PROGRAM
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the City has been awarded $10.2 million in grant funding by the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program. These grants, authorized by the federal stimulus bill, will improve the functioning of the criminal justice system by supporting the Departments of Probation and Correction and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The national grant program is named after Edward R. Byrne, a New York City Police Officer from the 103rd Precinct who was shot and killed on February 26, 1988 while protecting a witness who had agreed to testify in court against drug dealers. He was 22 years old.
“This criminal justice grant is in Eddie Byrne’s name, and we will use the money in a way that honors his memory,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Because of this grant, we can go after serious offenders by beefing up gang intelligence in jails, hiring more probation officers, and adding new staff in the DNA lab. I want to thank the Obama Administration for awarding these competitive grants. We have applied for additional funding for other agencies through the Byrne program, and if those grants are approved we will use the money to further improve public safety.”
“We have been able to drive down crime to historic lows by finding innovative new ways to prevent crime, among both adults and juveniles,” said John Feinblatt, the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Coordinator. “This grant will allow us to build on the success of the NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center, strengthen our oversight of mentally ill probationers, expand our DNA analysis capabilities, and keep more kids out of trouble.”
New York City is the only state or local jurisdiction to get three different grants from the program, and the grant to the Department of Probation is the largest single grant. Probation will receive $6.6 million to hire additional probation officers and supervising probation officers to augment juvenile intake, diversion service and juvenile weekend case processing. Probation will also use the Byrne grant funding to establish specialized units for high-risk mentally ill probationers and implement the nationally recognized Sex Offender Containment Model for adult probationers.
“In our effort to promote public safety, protect lives and change lives, many components come into play, but few are more crucial than appropriate funding and staffing,” said Acting Probation Commissioner Patricia Brennan. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the City Probation Department, and underscores our importance in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.”
The Department of Correction will receive $2.5 million to create a Real Time Correction Intelligence Center to collect and analyze information, especially about gangs.
“The Department of Corrections’ jails are among the safest in the nation,” said Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro. “The funds provided through the Edward Byrne Memorial Program enable our agency to maintain its leadership position by developing a system for the real time analysis of inmate information that will yield actionable gang intelligence and thwart illegal activity behind bars.”
The Office of Chief Medical Examiner will receive $986,000 to hire additional staff in the Evidence Unit, DNA lab, and Special Investigations Unit.
“The additional staff will result in shorter turn around time for examination and evaluation of evidence, thereby improving the timely identification of the guilty and the exoneration of the innocent,” said Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, Chief Medical Examiner.
Including these grants, the City has been awarded $82.7 million in stimulus money to protect public safety.
The federal government began giving grants named for Officer Byrne with the federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. The four assailants who murdered Police Officer Byrne were captured six days after the shooting and were eventually sentenced to 25 years to life. They were members of a gang who had been instructed by a jailed drug kingpin to kill a police officer.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Jack Ryan (Probation) (212) 232-0684
Stephen Morello (Correction) (718) 546-0635
Ellen Borakove (Chief Medical Examiner) (212) 447-2041