Washington, D.C. – Improved DNA testing, a crime-fighting information network, drug detecting dog teams and SWAT gear could be some of the ingredients for a hit prime time TV show, but these are also just a few of the items local and state government agencies all across Wyoming are receiving funding for in the form of federal grants, according to Wyoming’s Congressional delegation.
Senators Craig Thomas, Mike Enzi and Representative Barbara Cubin, all R-Wyo., said Cody, Cheyenne, the Fremont County Commissioners, Laramie County, Riverton, Rock Springs, Jackson, Teton County, and the Wyoming Attorney General’s office will receive a combined total of more than $1 million in federal funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program to help combat the state’s growing illegal drug problem.
“Methamphetamine does not discriminate; it does not relegate itself to one sector of society, or one corner of our state. These grants are very important to our law enforcement officials as they fight the scourge of meth and other illegal drugs. We need to make sure law enforcement have what the need to do their jobs,” Thomas said. “I plan to meet with representatives from the grant receiving communities over the next three months to assess the effectiveness of the programs they are working to fund and to seek other ways federal and local governments can partner in the battle against illegal drugs.”
“Much of this funding will be used in the fight against the use of methamphetamines. Meth use is surging across Wyoming, casting a dark shadow on thousands of lives in the state. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, neighbors and in some cases even the unborn are afflicted. We should use every means practical to wipe away this stain on our communities,” said Enzi. “These federal grants add to the $9 million appropriation the state legislature passed to continue the fight against meth.”
"Meth use is one of the greatest threats facing communities across Wyoming, regardless of their size. We need to make sure that Wyoming's law enforcement officials have the tools they need to protect our communities and our children from this drug and these Byrne grants are very important to their efforts," Cubin said.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $1,084,206 to Wyoming for fiscal year 2005 to assist state and local governments in implementing criminal justice improvement projects. The money will be awarded as follows:
• The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office will receive $945,748. These funds will support the Wyoming multi-jurisdictional task forces and improvements to the state crime lab for better DNA testing capabilities and reducing analysis turnaround times. The funds will also go toward advancing Wyoming’s involvement in the Rocky Mountain Information Network and provide funding for Wyoming’s twelve existing drug courts and two new drug courts;
• Laramie County will receive $25,140 to address increases in methamphetamine use by funding overtime for investigating police officers and drug dog handlers, and for the purchase of surveillance equipment;
• The City of Cheyenne will receive $36,704 for national police accreditation expenses;
• Fremont County Commissioners and the City of Riverton will receive $11,061 and $11,690 respectively for the continuation and implementation of drug prevention programs in area schools, for the funding of a rural drug education officer and for the purchase of audio/visual equipment for community awareness programs;
• Teton County and the town of Jackson will receive $14,445 and $11,000 respectively for the purchase of digital cameras to provide better DUI prosecution, and for the purchase of surveillance/forensics equipment;
• The City of Cody will receive $10,433 for the purchase of special uniforms, SWAT equipment and portable radios;
• Rock Springs will receive $32,430 for the purchase of taser guns and mental health services for the Treatment Court of Sweetwater County.
Throughout the past nine years, Wyoming has received over $13 million in aid from the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Formula Grant programs, now consolidated in the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program.
The program is a partnership among federal, state, and local governments to create safer communities with a special emphasis on controlling violent and drug-related crime. The program also allows the Department of Criminal Investigation to sub-grant money to the Department of Corrections for substance abuse treatment programs.
Since passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Wyoming has received funding from the Byrne Grant program and has used a large portion to operate six multi-jurisdictional drug task forces in cooperation with local law enforcement officials statewide. The task forces are coordinated through Wyoming's Division of Criminal Investigation and have been highly successful with targeting and reducing the transport and manufacture of illegal drugs.