Office of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno
MAYOR DOMENIC J. SARNO, CONGRESSMAN RICHARD E. NEAL, POLICE COMMISSIONER WILLIAM FITCHET, SHERRIFF MICHAEL ASHE AND MASS STATE POLICE LIEUTENANT EDWARD AMADEO ANNOUNCE $1 MILLION BYRNE GRANT FROM THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
October 28, 2013 -Springfield, MA- Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today a $1 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJIP). As stated in the grant announcement published by DOJ; “Millions of Americans live in distressed neighborhoods where a combination of crime, poverty, unemployment, poor health, struggling schools, inadequate housing and disinvestment keep many residents from reaching their full potential. The complexity of these issues has led to the emergence of comprehensive place-based and community-oriented initiatives that involve service providers from multiple sectors and disciplines, as well as community representatives from all types of organizations, to work together to reduce and prevent crime and to revitalize communities.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated “This is a terrific and significant award for the City of Springfield. I would like to thank our U.S. Congressman, Richard E. Neal and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey for their support in securing the funding. A lot of hard work went into this application by our Springfield Police Department’s Grants & Planning Unit led by Police Commissioner William Fitchet and Sargent Brian Elliot as well as the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services Director Gerry McCafferty.”
The BCJIP focuses on collaboration between stakeholders with the goal of bringing accountability to those who contribute negatively to their neighborhood. Resources and support from faith based groups, non-profits, local neighborhood volunteer and safety groups, residents and businesses are brought together along with law enforcement to address the root causes of “crime hot spots”.
"Byrne grants are an invaluable federal resource that allows state and local law enforcement to do their jobs more effectively. I have consistently voted to fund the program in Congress because of its proven effectiveness, particularly fighting the scourge of illegal drugs in society. I applaud the innovated approach that Mayor Sarno and the Springfield Police Department are taking in their determined effort to prevent and reduce crime in our community. And I will continue to work with them, and all of our local law enforcement agencies, to make the Pioneer Valley a safer place to live and raise a family," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
The focus point of the grant will be in the South End Neighborhood of Springfield. The South End of Springfield was the subject of a report issued in 2008 by the Federal Reserve System and the Brookings Institution titled: “The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America”. As the DOJ points out; “Research suggests that crime clustered in small areas, or “crime hot spots,” accounts for a disproportionate amount of crime and disorder in many communities.” The DOJ also states that local leaders; “need a core foundation of resources and tools to support data-driven strategy development, community-driven capacity building for collaborative problem solving, and assistance to identify and implement evidence-based and innovative strategies to target these drivers of crime.”
Police Commissioner William Fitchet stated; “The awarding of the Byrne Grant Innovation Project will be a critical component in addressing crime and issues of social harm that have negatively impacted South End neighborhood.”
The Springfield Police Department will be working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies such as; the Massachusetts State Police and Hampden County Sheriffs Department. The objective of the program will be to identify troubled areas within the geographic boundary outlined by the grant and bring the appropriate resources to the specific areas causing public safety issues. Tools that will be utilized include but are not limited to job training, education, appropriate health care, stable housing and food assistance.