The Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force is one of 13 law enforcement agencies around the commonwealth to have been selected last week to receive an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.
The local agency was awarded $141,586 to combat drug trafficking in Pulaski, Wayne and McCreary counties.
Lake Cumberland ADTF Director Wayne Conn explained that the agency applies for the grant every year to provide the bulk of salaries and benefits. The task force also funds equipment and vehicles through seizures and forfeitures, and receives membership contributions from the three counties as well as the cities of Somerset and Monticello.
“Without that grant, the task force would probably have to shut down,” Conn said. “The communities are already strapped for money. We’ve applied for this grant basically every year we’ve been in operation.”
Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble announced a total of $1,443,776 was awarded through the federal grant program to further the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s mission of assisting law enforcement’s efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence.
“Kentucky’s law enforcement officers, and others across the nation, face extraordinary challenges daily with both strength and resilience, but often times with limited resources,” Gov. Beshear stated. “My administration believes it is crucial to provide funding to our state and local government agencies for them to purchase the tools and resources that will not only allow them to protect our communities, but ensure their own safety as they stand on the front lines every day.”
Federal JAG funds are distributed to state administering agencies based on a formula that takes into account population and crime statistics. Funds awarded may be used to hire additional personnel and/or purchase equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance and information systems for criminal justice. As the state recipient of these funds, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet conducts a competitive application cycle on an annual basis.
Conn noted the task force also relies on its partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies working within its coverage area.
“We work hand in hand,” he said. “Without those partners, there would be no way we could do the job we do. It has to be a joint venture between the task force and all those agencies.”
Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary C. Noble said the Cabinet is charged with increasing coordination among the criminal justice, treatment and education systems to achieve a comprehensive and effective approach to drug control and violent crime prevention.
“The Cabinet places special emphasis on awarding regional and multi-jurisdictional programs and projects with JAG grant funding that are being aggressive and proactive when it comes to strengthening public safety in our communities,” said Secretary Noble.
Eligible applicants are state and local government agencies and nonprofit entities seeking critical funding necessary to support a wide range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives and mental health programs and related law enforcement and corrections programs, including behavioral programs and crisis intervention teams.
For a full list of the 2020-2021 JAG Grant subaward recipients, visit the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s website.