Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $1,398,506)
The Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) will help communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provide for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. This competitive grant announcement focuses on initiatives in eight areas: 1) preventing and reducing violent crime through community-based data-driven approaches; 2) providing funding for neighborhood-based probation and parole officers; 3) reducing mortgage fraud and crime related to vacant properties; 4) hiring of civilian support personnel in law enforcement (training staff, analysts, dispatchers, etc.); 5) enhancing forensic and crime scene investigations; 6) improving resources and services for victims of crime; 7) supporting problem-solving courts; and 8) national training and technical assistance partnerships.
Under category 4, the city of Austin, in conjunction with the Austin Police Department, will use the grant award to hire civilian law enforcement staff. The grant will support the Emergency Communications Services Improvement Program. The goals of this project are to support sworn law enforcement by improving emergency communications services citywide and in turn to promote economic recovery. In order to accomplish these goals, the city of Austin and the Austin Police Department will use the funds to create 12 new jobs within the communications division. Currently the 9-1-1 Center is experiencing an increased call volume and staffing shortages that place officers at a significant disadvantage in their response to calls for service and efforts at preventing crime. The 12 new jobs are to support the center; 4 dispatchers and 8 new emergency call takers will enhance essential services and free officers to attend to critical, time-sensitive incidents. The funds also support the new hire training and headsets.