FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Thirteen state and local law enforcement agencies are sharing $1,443,776 from the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.
“Kentucky’s law enforcement officers, and others across the nation, face extraordinary challenges daily with both strength and resilience, but often times with limited resources. My administration believes it is crucial to provide funding to our state and local government agencies for them to purchase the tools and resources that will not only allow them to protect our communities, but ensure their own safety as they stand on the front lines every day,” said Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday in announcing the grants.
Federal JAG funds are distributed to state administering agencies based on a formula that takes into account population and crime statistics.
Funds awarded may be used to hire additional personnel and/or purchase equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance and information systems for criminal justice.
As the state recipient of these funds, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet conducts a competitive application cycle on an annual basis.
“The Cabinet places special emphasis on awarding regional and multi-jurisdictional programs and projects with JAG grant funding that are being aggressive and proactive when it comes to strengthening public safety in our communities,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary C. Noble.
Eligible applicants are state and local government agencies and nonprofit entities seeking critical funding necessary to support a wide range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives and mental health programs and related law enforcement and corrections programs, including behavioral programs and crisis intervention teams.
Some of the programs funded by the 2020-2021 JAG Grant include:
Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force
Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force has been awarded $183,321 to fund the positions of director and administrative assistant to provide management, clerical work and data entry. The task force oversees a five county area comprised of Hardin, Hart, Nelson, Grayson and Larue counties and assists in other surrounding counties as requested.
“This funding affords the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force the ability to work over 1,000 narcotic cases a year, which results in a large amount of Illegal narcotics taken off the streets,” said the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force Director Ronald Eckart. “These cases also leads to the arrest of multiple persons, some of which complete Drug Court and other treatment programs. Without this type of funding our hands would be tied due to lack of funds to continue.”
Lakeside Park – Crestview Hills
Lakeside Park – Crestview Hills has been awarded $56,841 to fund the initial purchase of twelve body worn cameras with associated software management and 11 integrated in-car video systems. Each sworn officer will be assigned a body worn camera and all agency vehicles assigned to patrol capacity will be equipped with an in-car camera.
“This grant award will allow us to proceed with a replacement project to update our obsolete body camera and mobile vehicle systems,” said Lakeside Park – Crestview Hills Police Assistant Chief of Police Lt. Col. Brad C. Degenhardt.
Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Task Force
Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Task Force has been awarded $137,791 to continue to minimize the adverse effects of drug trafficking on the lives of Northern Kentuckians and their communities through aggressive drug trafficking enforcement, educational programs, harm minimization through prescription drug disposal, and building and maintaining effective partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the region.
“Many law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth do not have the resources to specifically address and investigate drug offenses along with the related violent crimes. The JAG Grant award allows such agencies to contribute manpower to task forces, like the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, for these necessary endeavors. These investigative task forces, made possible through JAG resources, also create a bridge to work with other social agencies involved in drug abuse – harm reduction, such as the NKY Office of Drug Control Policy,” said Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force Director Christopher Conners.
Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force
Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force has been awarded $260,468 to develop leads and gather information to combat the sale, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs and narcotics within the Pennyrile Area Development District, resulting in the arrest and conviction of the person(s) participating in these illegal activities. Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force will also provide educational programs, as requested, to churches, schools, civic organizations etc. and participate with county coalitions and the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy to promote anti-drug campaigns and community awareness.
“Without the JAG grant monies given to the task force, the Kentucky communities that we are responsible for would have to combat crime and drugs with fewer resources and would have to ask state and local governments for more financial help,” said Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force Director David Thompson. “With the current situation with COVID, we all know that would not be an option. So we are grateful for the JAG funds that keep us in the business of identifying and prosecuting drug traffickers in our communities. Without it, we would be out of business.”