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Violent Crimes and Firearms Task Force

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $660,000)

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 1, Allegheny County, in conjunction with its District Attorney's Office, will use the grant award to continue comprehensive community-based, data-driven approaches to prevent and reduce violent crime. The Violent Crimes and Firearms Task Force (VCFTF) coordinates law enforcement agencies to suppress gun violence in Allegheny County. The award will be used to continue to fund overtime requirements for VCFTF members to work on assigned investigations, reinstate two Assistant District Attorney positions to the Violent Crimes and Firearms Prosecution Unit (VCFU), and expand the VCFU with two additional Assistant District Attorney positions.

The VCFTF has established the following objectives: 1) coordinate law enforcement agencies to suppress violent crime; 2) create a specialized gun violence unit comprised of officers and prosecutors whose sole purpose is the investigation and prosecution of violent individuals and gangs; 3) ensure appropriate sentences are imposed against violent criminals; 4) review bond status of violent criminals and seek immediate adjustments when necessary; 5) initiate probation and parole revocation proceedings for violent offenders; 6) establish and maintain a database to
help determine connections between violent offenders; and 7) proactively investigate, arrest, and prosecute gangs in target geographical locations, rather than just individual offenders.


Date Created: September 7, 2009