Over the past six years, the Madison Police Department received more than $6.6 million in grants for special programs and initiatives.
As federal and state budgets have shrunk, so has grant funding. Cities with high crime rates have a greater chance of receiving grants in a climate where less funding drives hard choices. The Madison crime rate is lower than most comparable cities, so the Department must rely on innovative programs when applying for grants.
Since 2008 we have implemented a number of grant-funded community policing initiatives, including the following:
1) The Department teamed with Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) to create the Law Enforcement Advocate Partnership (LEAP) program ensures victims of domestic violence have access to the help and services they need right away. This initiative was initially grant-funded, but because of its success has become part of our operating budget. You can read more about this program on a previous blog that I wrote: http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/chief/blog/?Id=1375 or by visiting the DAIS website at http://abuseintervention.org/
2) Youth peer courts are a restorative justice alternative to our traditional juvenile justice system. First time offenders with a misdemeanor or ordinance violation are eligible. A jury of fellow high school students, working with Municipal Court Judge Dan Koval and service providers such as Youth Services and Dane County TimeBank, have heard cases and handed down restorative sanctions, such as community service and other actions for the offending youth to take.
3) Our Special Investigation Unit Focused deterrence program addresses the small number of repeat offenders responsible for a large amount of violence in our community. A federal COPS grant enabled the Department to double the size of the unit to six detectives. I recently wrote a blog about the success of our SIU and I encourage you to take a look at it: http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/chief/blog/?Id=2502
4) Reentry services for mentoring, housing and employment support services aim to reduce recidivism and promote success for the ex-offenders in the focused deterrence program. Over the past three years, grants have funded the services of Madison-area Urban Ministry, Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Vision Beyond Bars and Voices Beyond Bars.
5) A major violence prevention grant helped the Department develop its crime analysis capability and led to the creation of our Crime Prevention Gang Unit.
6) Grant-funded youth academies for at-risk children offer them engaging activities, such as CSI-style crime investigation simulations, while interacting with police officers of color and the having the opportunity to learn about the law enforcement profession. The Department has teamed with the Boys & Girls Club for the Black Youth Academy and Centro Hispano for the Amigos en Azul Latino Youth Academy.
7) The Department is proud to have supported for many years the Dane County District Attorney Crime Response Program, which provides victim and witness much needed support and services.
8) Grants are also a continuing funding source for the Dane County Drug Court treatment diversion program.
9) Traffic safety enforcement grants allow our Department to promote safe driving, enforce impaired driving laws and promote pedestrian and bicycle safety. We often collaborate with other local law enforcement agencies on this grant-funded work.
Without these grants, the Department would not have the capacity to create many community policing initiatives or the opportunity to actively partner with so many community agencies. This collaborative innovative approach helps create the best possible service and increases public safety.