Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $303,304)
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) solicits applications for initiatives which assist law enforcement in rural states and rural areas. The program helps rural states and rural areas to prevent and combat crime, especially drug-related crime, and provides for national support efforts, including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address rural needs.
The Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement to Combat Crime and Drugs Program, administered by BJA, helps rural states and rural areas prevent and combat crime, especially drug-related crime, and provides for national support efforts, including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address rural needs. In addition, priority consideration will be given to local law enforcement agencies in rural areas where the unit of local government is not eligible to receive a direct allocation from the Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program or received a direct allocation that was $50,000 or less. Applicants were invited to submit a proposal under any one of the following categories to: (1) combat rural crime; (2) improve rural law enforcement investigations; (3) enhance rural detention and jail operations; (4) facilitate rural justice information sharing; or (5) develop a national training and technical assistance program.
Under Category 1, the Pueblo of Pojoaque, along with the Tribal Police Department, will use the award to hire highly-specialized, well-trained personnel to address the problems of drugs and drug-related crime. This strategy also relies heavily on the support of the citizens it serves and partnerships with outside law enforcement agencies. This project will address and engage each of these priorities, with the goal of impacting and reducing drug activity and drug-related crime at the Pueblo of Pojoaque.
The Pueblo will hire two highly qualified, certified, and experienced law enforcement officers to perform the tasks of criminal investigators. Their function will initially be to become familiar with the persons involved in the drug trade, and to form a drug enforcement unit that will target drug offenders. The hiring of these personnel will not only strengthen their departmental capacity, but increase public safety by immediately investigating drug-related crimes. In order to make this project a success, the Pueblo recognizes the need to engage and actively involve their community. Funds will establish an anonymous 'Hotline' during the first three months that community members can call and report any suspicious or irregular activity in the community. The advent of community 'tip lines' has proven a highly successful way of combating drug-related crime, with the understanding that anonymity is important especially in a small community such as Pojoaque. Officers from the Tribal Police Department will also be actively involved in community-based programs such as the 'Neighborhood Watch' program, implemented by the Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department. The officers will engage local Pojoaque businesses in order to educate them about how to manage instances of criminal activity. The officers will also attend community activities with the goal of educating community members about drug activity and providing a presence which will allow them to swiftly and cooperatively respond to disruptions and flagrant criminal offenses while integrating with community members. Finally, there will be a concerted effort by the criminal investigators and the Tribal Police Department to integrate their efforts with outside local and regional drug task forces. This is necessary to preserve the identity and integrity of their criminal investigators, as well as provide necessary support to conduct successful operations and effective searches.