OLYMPIA… Drastic cuts to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program funding by Congress have sparked concerns from attorneys general across all jurisdictions in the United States--including Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. In a letter to Congress, 56 attorneys general stated the funding was essential for state crime programs and warned large cuts would greatly harm drug and crime programs across the board.
Byrne-JAG is the only funding source available for local and state law enforcement agencies for multijurisdictional drug enforcement, including methamphetamine initiatives. The program also plays a key role in the funding of drug courts, gang prevention efforts and other programs involving law enforcement collaboration.
In the FY 2008 federal appropriations bill signed into law in December 2007, the Byrne-JAG Program received only $170 million--a 67 percent cut from the FY 2007 level of $520 million.
In Washington, the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development allocates Byrne-JAG funds to 19 multijurisdictional narcotics task forces that serve 29 of 39 counties. Even with cuts to other Byrne-JAG supported programs and an influx of $1.5 million from the state general fund, narcotics tasks forces supported by CTED are facing a $1.8 million shortfall.
“This funding is crucial in protecting communities against methamphetamine, gangs and violent crimes,” McKenna said. “The proposed cuts may eliminate an important effort to help drug-endangered children and will hinder law enforcement’s ability to continue progress in the battle against our state’s meth epidemic.”
Contact: Nick Werts, Communications Intern, (360) 664-0403