$2-million+ Coming to Region Public Safety Efforts

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September 27, 2013 — While the federal government works on a plan to fund its operations past Monday, Indiana’s 1st District United States Representative Pete Visclosky announced more than $2-million in federal financial support to programs in Gary and East Chicago.

The Merrillville Congressman announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families through the Basic Center Program awarded $186,798 to the Crisis Center Inc. located in Gary, Indiana.

He also announced that the U.S. Department of Justice Office – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring program is awarding grants to East Chicago Police Department for $625,000 and to Gary Police Department for $1.23-million.

Visclosky says, “The continued efforts by the Crisis Center to make a positive difference and improve the quality of life for the youth of Northwest Indiana is truly inspirational and should be recognized.  This funding will support their approach in taking the necessary proactive steps to continue making a positive impact in the lives of many young people.”

Visclosky’s office says the Crisis Center provides emergency shelter and other services to runaway and homeless youth, along with a shelter for children otherwise in unsafe living situations.  It provides outreach through 395 Safe Place sites in Lake and Porter Counties, serving more than 300 homeless children a year, for up to 20 days, along with group and family counseling.

Visclosky says the support for East Chicago and Gary Police Departments, “represent an investment in Northwest Indiana’s law enforcement and will allow for the hiring of at least 15 officers.  I commend the East Chicago and Gary Police Departments for their commitment to promote innovative ways to increase public safety.”

East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said, “This award is verification that the City of East Chicago is making progress with our proactive and innovative concepts.  We recognize that working together with the residents of our city is extremely important to our success.  We are proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and look forward to leading additional community oriented programs.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their community policing plans.  There was an additional focus this year on agencies requesting assistance in developing school safety programs that would include the hiring of a school resource officer.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said, “With all of the measures we have been implementing to combat and prevent crime in our city, receiving this grant is a welcomed addition.  Community policing is extremely important when it comes to building strong neighborhoods and healthy relationships with those who serve and protect us every day.”

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.

More information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program is at the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

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