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James City County has received two grants totaling over $28,300 under the state’s Policing in the 21st Century Initiative, according to a news release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.
James City County received two of the 36 community policing grants awarded under the Policing in the 21st Century Initiative.
Altogether, over $756,000 in grants were given to agencies across the state, which will fund training and equipment to enhance community-inclusive policing efforts, the release said.
James City County applied for two grants on Nov. 3, totaling $15.857 and $12,444 each, police department spokeswoman Stephanie Williams said.
Williams said the project with the larger cost will enhance law enforcement recruitment efforts of minority candidates.
“It’s important to have a police department that more closely represents the community in which we work,” Williams said.
The second project will be for a software program where residents can access certain police records, such as traffic accident reports and minor, non-violent crime reports, Williams said. While the software would increase government transparency, it would also cut down on staff time spent producing copies of reports for citizen requests.
The grants were approved by the Criminal Justice Services Board at a meeting Thursday in Richmond. The grants will support training and equipment to enhance the recipient agencies’ community inclusive policing efforts. Money for the grants comes from federal funds awarded to the commonwealth from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program.
The focus of the grants was in response to input given during four law enforcement and community listening sessions orchestrated by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran in August and September, the release said.
“Since the beginning of my administration, my team and I have worked closely with local and state law enforcement agencies to develop strategies that build and strengthen their relationships within the communities they serve,” McAuliffe said. “Strong police-community relationships are essential to protecting the safety of families and businesses in every community in our commonwealth. I commend the agencies that are receiving this award for their outstanding leadership on these important issues. We will continue to ensure policing in the 21st century is built on communal integrity across all corners of the commonwealth.”
During the sessions, over 300 people from law enforcement agencies and community groups across the discussed how to use grant funding to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and their communities, the release said.
“These grant funds are a direct result of the constructive feedback and dialogue we heard from listening sessions we held across the Commonwealth,” Moran said. “My team and I look forward to working with all of the grant recipients as we pursue effective community policing efforts. These grants are a positive step forward as we continue to build bridges between law enforcement and the public.”
To receive grant funding, applicants were required to submit proposals describing their projects and providing budgets showing how the funds will be spent. The applications were reviewed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services staff and a committee of the Criminal Justice Services Board.
The release said the grants will fund a variety of projects, including one-on-one and small group mentoring for youths and their families; training for law enforcement officers in de-escalation and crisis communication strategies; equipment for a police department athletic program intended for at-risk youth; a community collaboration effort to reduce crime, involving law enforcement, the public schools, social services; the commonwealth’s attorney and nonprofit agencies and a public school-based youth outreach program to promote positive relationships with law enforcement.
“The funds awarded by the Board will enable the recipients to expand on existing community policing efforts and add new ones as well,” said Fran Ecker, director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services. “We applaud the recipients for their commitment to community policing.”