$1M in Federal funds will assist Sheriff, gang prevention in Pierce County

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) announced today that $500,000 included in a 2010 spending bill for the Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership has passed the full Senate. The Pierce County gang partnership focuses on at-risk youth who are exposed to or engaged in crime, aiming to help them before they fall into a life-long pattern of criminal behavior.

The Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership brings together a team of prevention specialists, police, prosecutors, schools, and health- and community-based organizations to work collaboratively throughout the region. They identify services that can help youth and families who are impacted by drugs, violence and gang-related issues. With local budgets now facing large cuts, law enforcement agencies are expressing concern that it may become even more difficult for them to fight gangs.

The local funding is part of legislation that would provide more than $1 billion for gang prevention across the nation. It was included in the fiscal year 2010 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate today by a vote of 71-28.

Similarly, the 2010 spending bill also includes $500,000 to improve communications at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office passed the full Senate. This funding will support the construction of a new radio communications tower, which will enhance deputies’ ability to communicate with each other and with other law enforcement agencies during emergencies.

Currently, Pierce County has several disparate radio systems which do not allow easy interoperability. This funding will support Pierce County law enforcement and fire agencies as they move toward developing a true regional interoperable communications system and consolidated 911 dispatch centers. The project will also fit into the Washington State Emergency Interoperability Communication (SIEC) Plan and within the Puget Sound Emergency Interoperability Communication (PSEIC) Plan.