(The Center Square) – The U.S. Justice Department awarded 33 organizations in Nebraska grants worth a combined $32.5 million to promote public safety, it announced in a press release this week.
The Office of Justice Programs provided these grants to help “build community capacity to curb violence, serve victims and youth, and achieve fair outcomes through evidence-based criminal and juvenile justice strategies,” according to the release.
The Justice Department spent about $4.4 billion on grants for 3,700 organizations nationwide under this program.
The Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice got the state’s largest grant; it was $8.23 million for the Commission’s Victims of Crime Act assistance fund.
“This applicant will provide funds from the Crime Victims Fund to enhance crime victim services in the State,” the Justice Department explained in its grant database. “Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) assistance funds are typically competitively awarded by the State to local community-based organizations that provide direct services to crime victims.”
The Nebraska State Patrol got the state’s second-largest grant. It obtained $6.01 million from the National Criminal History Improvement Program to bolster its Patrol Criminal History accuracy and completeness.
The state will modernize its systems which will include an upgrade to its Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Plus, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services was awarded $2 million for its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
“The purpose of this project is to enhance the PDMP infrastructure to help in analyzing data and to improve sharing, cleaning, and use of PDMP in Nebraska,” the Justice Department’s grant database said.
The state wants to use the funding to facilitate various types of data sharing. This includes increased communication with law enforcement, prosecutors, public health officials, treatment providers, and drug courts regarding Naloxone data.
Nebraska State Patrol also got $1.69 million to continue its National Instant Criminal Background Check Record Improvement Program.
The funding will help support a Program Manager position, plus two Crime Analyst positions, and give the state funding to make its records more complete and accurate.
Additionally, Nebraska State Patrol got $1.53 million to digitize 11,000 Douglas County Court microfilm records and to continue a prepaid postage program it has in place to help it get timely submissions of ink-and-roll fingerprint arrest cards to include in criminal history records.
“Everyone in this country deserves to be safe in their communities,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the release 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.”