Briefs for December 13, 2021

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Justice Department Awards More Than $17.5 Million To Support Project Safe Neighborhoods

The Department of Justice announced last week that it has awarded more than $17.5 million in grants to support the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program.

Funding will support efforts across the country to address violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), part of the department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will administer the 88 grant awards, which are being made to designated fiscal agents to support local PSN projects that work in partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.

The fiscal year 2021’s funding request resulted in the allocation of $167,124 to be awarded to local law enforcement entities in the Eastern District of Tennessee. These grants will be awarded in the summer of 2022 following the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration’s independent solicitation and review of applications from local law enforcement agencies.

“This latest Project Safe Neighborhoods grant is critical to addressing the violent crime threatening cities and towns all across our country,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “Ensuring the safety of all Americans is the highest priority for the Department of Justice, but when it comes to violent crime, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to work closely with local public safety agencies as well as community organizations to craft individual strategies unique to each community’s needs. Programs like Project Safe Neighborhoods and the funding it provides allow us to do just that.”

In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. Integral to that effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a two-decade old evidence-based and community-oriented program focused on reducing violent crime. The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime issued by Deputy Attorney General Monaco, is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results of our efforts. The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.

PSN programs are led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in collaboration with local public safety agencies, community stakeholders and other agencies and organizations that work to reduce violent crime.                       

African American Equity Restoration Task Force meets Dec. 15

The African American Equity Restoration Task Force will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 5-7 p.m., at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave.

The public is welcome to attend. Community TV of Knoxville will be filming the meeting to post on its website (ctvknox.org) for on-demand viewing.

In December 2020, Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie proposed and City Council approved a resolution (R-367-2020) to invest $100 million in Knoxville’s Black neighborhoods, which were largely destroyed during urban renewal projects of the 1950s and ‘60s.

The resolution called for the creation of the task force to study, review and identify strategic solutions to improve areas of disparity and disenfranchisement in the Black community, work with existing agencies in the community, and develop policy, programs and recommendations that will establish opportunities for generational wealth building in the Black community.

 Information about the task force, including meeting agendas and minutes and links to video of past meetings, is posted at KnoxvilleTN.gov/EquityTaskForce.