Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $218,832)
A. Statement of the Problem
# of Homicides
# Non-Fatal Shootings
In the PSN Target Enforcement Area of Marion County, Indiana (the home of Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana), homicides and nonfatal shootings have continued to trend upward since 2015. Robberies, carjackings, and other violent crimes have also escalated. For example, homicides have increased over the past 10 years: 92 (2010), 144 (2015), 158 (2018), 172 (2019), 245 (2020), 246 (2021). Non-fatal shootings totaled 678 in 2021, 642 in 2020, 452 in 2019, and 447 in 2018.
Indiana’s approach to violent crime reduction is a multi-faceted approach. No single level of law enforcement – federal, state, or local – has the capacity to confront this epidemic alone. Beyond resource constraints, federal agencies face jurisdictional limitations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its investigative partners are empowered to pursue gangs and drug trafficking organizations, as well as individuals who perpetrate commercial robberies, commit violent crimes with firearms, and possess firearms as prohibited persons. But the ability to prosecute defendants who use firearms to commit murder and assault is limited. State and local prosecutors and agencies face similar resource constraints as well as challenges unique to their jurisdictional level such as jail overcrowding. Prosecutors and investigators are unable to tackle this challenge alone; active engagement of community stakeholders is essential to ensuring a comprehensive response to the violent crime problem.
The PSN program offers an opportunity for Marion County federal, state, and local partners to work together to capitalize on their overlapping jurisdictions, pool resources and knowledge, and boost the chances of achieving the shared goal of reducing violent crime in the Southern District of Indiana (SDIN). Funding will continue to be used to strengthen these overlapping efforts and expedite the data available to partners working toward violent crime reduction.
B. Project Design and Implementation
The PSN Task Force will be responsible for implementing the PSN strategy discussed herein to address this violent crime epidemic. The PSN Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, IMPD, the Marion County Crime Laboratory, and the Indiana Department of Education, as well as community members and other law enforcement stakeholders. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDIN will work in conjunction with the Task Force by continuing to implement its complementary violent crime reduction plan for Marion County. Coordination between all of these groups will be essential in successfully deploying a PSN strategy. The PSN Task Force will operate with the following objectives and priorities in mind:
To develop and maintain strong and lasting partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors who operate under a unified strategy to reduce violent crime with an emphasis on that affiliated with gang activity;
To utilize research data and technology to better identify, deter, and prosecute violent crime and violent criminals;
To prioritize funding efforts to areas of Marion County most affected by violent crime through strategic partnerships and coordinated efforts; and,
To hold its members accountable for the efficient and effective use of funds, personnel, and other resources.
The Southern District of Indiana’s PSN Task Force will assist in reducing violent crime in the Target Enforcement Area by funding several identified areas of need. First, PSN funds will be devoted to enforcement efforts such as IMPD overtime costs incurred during surge and targeted enforcement operations. For example, IMPD and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have worked hard during the FY2018-FY2021 periods to target those identified as the most violent offenders in Indianapolis. By providing more overtime funding, the PSN Grant will ensure that IMPD is even better positioned to work with ATF on this campaign.
Along those lines, PSN funding also will assist in ensuring the continued good work of local and state crime lab programs focused on gun violence. For example, a recent emphasis on NIBIN analysis in Marion County has proven very successful in assisting investigators identify violent offenders. Likewise, increased money for gun and DNA testing kits has aided in law enforcement’s efforts to strengthen investigations and prosecutions of gun crimes.
Third, PSN money will assist in developing and implementing outreach and prevention initiatives, including media campaigns and reentry programs, designed to close the gap between law enforcement and the community. Programs initiated during 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 have already seen success. For example, in March 2019, the PSN community launched the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) program, a lever-pulling program aimed at high-risk offenders residing in Marion County. The PSN CVI meeting locations are chosen based on, among other factors, the levels of violent crime in a particular zip code as well as the ability of community members to participate in the process.
The PSN Task Force will also ensure funding through the PSN project distributes 30 percent of any PSN funding received to support gang task forces that investigate criminal organizations engaged in violent crime, firearm offenses, human trafficking, and drug trafficking in Marion County. An example may include 30% of funding devoted to IMPD overtime costs earmarked for enforcement operations that target street-level gangs operating in Marion County. Although not always organized in a traditional gang structure, these criminal organizations and groups are linked to significant number of firearm, drug, and violent offenses in the target enforcement area.
C. Capabilities and Competencies
The proposed PSN Task Force consists of representatives of the entities outlined above, namely the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, IMPD, the national trustee of the Fraternal Order of Police, and other crucial stakeholders such as the crime lab and community members. The capabilities and competencies of the involved agencies and entities will be critical for successful implementation of the strategy as well as for sustaining the commitment of community leaders. Anticipated partners and collaborators include a variety of community leaders ranging from private sector partners and health-care providers to faith-based agencies.
The Southern District of Indiana’s PSN Task Force will be responsible for determining subawards. Previously, the selection committee, a subsection of the task force, was responsible for voting on subawards. As this requirement has been removed from the FY22 requirements, the Task Force does not anticipate holding a competitive announcement. It was determined in previous years that the burden of the competitive process was not justified by the somewhat minimal federal award. The task forces members will engage in this process by focusing on those identified applicants who have a proven ability to develop and maintain strong federal, state, and local partnerships, to engage in community outreach, and to adhere to evidence-based decision making.
The fiscal agent charged with administering the funds is the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). The ICJI is the State Administering Agency for the state of Indiana and will be responsible for the distribution of federal funds. ICJI has a proven track record of administering federal funds and implementing and overseeing the competitive process for sub-awards. Once subawards are determined by the Task Force and approved by the ICJI, all recommendations will be sent to the appropriate Bureau of Justice Assistance policy advisor for approval.
D. Plan for Collecting the Data Required for this Solicitation’s Performance Measures
By working with both IMPD and the fiscal agent, the PSN Task Force will ensure the continued collection of crime statistics. These statistics will be used to measure and evaluate the implementation of both the overall PSN strategy as well as specific sub-awards. As data is collected by the approved subawards, task force members will ensure this data is made available to the Dept. of Justice and reported in the Performance Measurement Tool (PMT) by collection due dates. The ICJI will also be submitting the required GMS fiscal and programmatic reporting. Data collected will be maintained in the ICJI’s Intelligrants electronic grant management system for record.