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Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release
Attorneys General Call on Congress to Restore Crime and Drug Enforcement Funds
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum today joined 50 other Attorneys General in sending a letter urging Congress to restore federal funding for crime and drug enforcement efforts. The Attorneys General have asked that funds for fiscal year 2008 to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne/JAG) program be restored and adequate funding levels maintained in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Byrne/JAG are critical in Florida’s fight against drugs and violent crimes
“With the economic downturn and a potentially correlated increase in crime, these federal cuts could not come at a worse time,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Significant cuts in the federal funding of our law enforcement initiatives will only further disrupt our state and local efforts.”
Byrne/JAG is currently the only source of funding available for multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement, including methamphetamine initiatives, and is critical for drug courts, law enforcement information sharing, gang prevention, and prisoner reentry programs. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) administers the Byrne/JAG funding to local and state criminal justice agencies. Funds support drug task forces, treatment and counseling to incarcerated offenders, DNA processing, domestic violence initiatives, criminal history improvements and community policing programs.
“Florida law enforcement needs these funds more than ever,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Byrne/JAG dollars provide agencies with important tools and technologies to keep our communities safe.”
The Attorneys General asserted in their letter these cuts would devastate state law enforcement efforts by shutting down multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces, requiring layoffs of police and prosecutors, and cutting funding to programs proven to assist drug-addicted citizens in becoming productive members of society.
A copy of the letter is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-7NXRW2/$file/ByrneJAG_Letter2009.pdf