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Public meeting to discuss law enforcement grant in Pueblo

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Law enforcement officers in Pueblo want to hear from the community as they apply for a grant to help get upgraded technology and equipment.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 16 at 10:00 a.m. in the community room of the Pueblo Municipal Justice Center, 200 S. Main St. The meeting is a requirement of the application process for the 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG).

This is a routine grant that is applied for and awarded every year to law enforcement agencies across the nation. Law enforcement is required to hold a public meeting to hear from the community, however, the community is not entitled to decide on the projects that will be funded.

The Pueblo Police Department will be on hand, also representatives from the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office and the Pueblo County District Attorney's Office. This year, the agencies are expected to receive a combined total of $97,738 in awards. The grant is broken down as a formula grant rather than a competitive grant.

The process is broken into several steps and is done for each state. First, the JAG program and the Bureau of Justice Statistics work together to tally a funding allocation for each state based on violent crime and population statistics. There is also a minimum allocation amount built into the formula ensuring that every state gets an appropriate share.  

Since its inception in 2005, JAG has awarded agencies in Pueblo County with more than $1.7 million dollars. This year the grant award is a little higher for Pueblo than it was last year.

The distribution breaks down with the city of Pueblo getting 76 percent of the money. The county gets 24 percent, split between the sheriff's office, which ends up with 80 percent and the DA's office, 20 percent.

Pueblo Police have outlined several ways that they will use the funding including, upgrading computer systems, mobile identification readers, auto theft reduction and camera equipment.

The JAG award is named for New York City Police officer Edward R. Byrne who was shot in the head while protecting a witness who agreed to testify in a drug case back in 1988. The U.S. Department of Justice named the initiative after him because the mission of the grant is to help communities fund programs to prevent and deter crime.

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