(The Center Square) – Missouri social service and law enforcement agencies, nonprofits and political subdivisions will receive $74 million from a total of $4.4 billion distributed by the U.S. Justice Department.
The grants from the Office of Justice Programs are intended to build community capacity to deal with violence, serve victims and improve evidence-based criminal and juvenile justice strategies.
The Justice Department awarded 51 grants to Missouri organizations and 3,700 throughout the nation.
Missouri’s Department of Social Services received the largest grant at $24.7 million for victim assistance. The state will award funds to local, community-based organizations providing direct services to crime victims. More than $1.7 billion was distributed to expand access to victims services throughout the nation. An additional $100 million was given to respond to human trafficking and to assist survivors.
The Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center in Springfield will receive $5.8 million, the second-largest grant in Missouri. The center serves nine midwestern states and a Canadian province with comprehensive information sharing. It provides investigative support services to more than 9,600 local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies dealing with multi jurisdictional criminal activity.
“Regionally, MOCIC provides agencies with time- and money-saving intelligence and investigative support, including analytical, research and equipment services, that are critical to helping solve crimes, prosecute offenders, save lives and safeguard both officers and citizens,” according to the award description.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety received nine grants for $17.2 million, with the largest at $5.5 million for efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence with a particular focus on dealing with risk factors likely to lead to gun violence.
“As identified by Missouri’s Crisis Intervention Advisory Board, this … funding will focus on the following priority areas: specialized court-based programs, behavioral threat assessment programs, crisis intervention and violent crime prevention and reduction and associated training/travel related costs,” the award description stated.
St. Louis County received four grants worth $5.6 million. The largest was $3.7 million for the St. Louis Regional Violent Crime Initiative. The award description said the organization will improve its intelligence-based policing to “incorporate the latest technology available to facilitate a regional crime information sharing strategy and at the same time allow for the dissemination of this information in real time.”
Concerns of Police Survivors, a national non-profit organization based in Camdenton with 55 chapters nationwide, will receive $2.5 million. The organization provides services to 75,000 survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths.
“Everyone in this country deserves to be safe in their communities,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement announcing the grants. “That is why, in addition to continuing our efforts to identify and prosecute the most violent criminals, the Justice Department is putting every available resource to work to support the efforts of our law enforcement and community partners nationwide. This significant investment will go directly to state and local programs that support the victims of crime, support officer safety and wellness, build the public trust in law enforcement essential to public safety, and help make all of our communities safer.”