Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $99,915)
The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program is a life-skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curriculum helps students develop values and practice behaviors that will assist them to avoid destructive activities. The G.R.E.A.T. program coordinates with federal, regional, state and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the G.R.E.A.T. program is to train law enforcement officers in a school-based curriculum in which the officers provide instruction to school-aged children in life skill competencies, gang awareness, and anti-violence techniques. Training in the core G.R.E.A.T. program is provided to officers from any state or local law enforcement agency.
The City of Rio Rancho has grown rapidly over the past several years and anticipates further growth by 2010. Rio Rancho reports that its increase in gang problems is related to its large urbanization and proximity to areas with high gang presence. The Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Rio Rancho Public Schools have worked in partnership to address the City's gang issues by implementing the G.R.E.A.T. Program within various middle schools over the past several years. In addition, Rio Rancho recently hosted a 'Cop Camp' in 2005, a program that provided early teens with an opportunity to have positive contact with law enforcement while carrying anti- drug and gang messages. To further prevent gang-related activities within the City and its schools, the DPS, working with the public schools, will expand its G.R.E.A.T. Program by targeting 7th grade students and establishing a summer component. The 2006 G.R.E.A.T. award will allow the DPS to fully implement both components by funding additional certified officers, officer training expenses, and student incentives.
Due to a lack of funding, the Rio Rancho DPS only has two fully-trained officers to teach G.R.E.A.T. In order to maximize the benefits of the program and ensure its full implementation, the DPS will train six additional officers to conduct trainings and will implement the summer component by working in partnership with the City of Rio Rancho's Boys and Girls Club, Parks and Recreation, and Explorer's Post. These organizations will assist the DPS in providing various activities to approximately 400 children. Also, due to high citizen demand, the DPS will conduct another 'Cop Camp' and 'Fire Camp,' in addition to 5 local and 5 outside area field trips. Federal funds will cover: (1) personnel and fringe for seven officers (below 70% cap); (2) travel/training expenses for seven officers attending the 2006 G.R.E.A.T. Conference and for three instructors receiving certification; (3) equipment for G.R.E.A.T. presentations (one laptop computer and software, one portable projector, and one trailer marked with the G.R.E.A.T. and DPS logos for transporting G.R.E.A.T. materials and for promoting both entities; and (4) incentive items for youth, faculty, and volunteers; bus services for local and outside area field trips; food for the summer program; and entry fees for summer events.