LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -The City of Little Rock is looking to fight crime with the help of three new public safety grants.
These grants total $1,270,743 and will aid the Little Rock Police Department’s Gun Crimes, Victims’ Advocacy and Domestic Violence Units.
During a news conference on Monday, city officials broke down where the money is going and why.
“We are really big into technology and over the last two years, we enhanced our technology, which has allowed us to be able to reduce the chances of our gun crimes going unsolved,” said Keith Humphrey, Little Rock Chief of Police.
“Our caseload, beginning in 2018, went up 83 percent, 83 percent most of those are gun cases and so our goal is to take trigger pullers off the street,” said Cody Hiland, United States Attorney.
More than half the grant, about $750,000, is going to LRPD’s Crime Gun Intelligence Unit.
According to the news release, the latest award continues the work that began in 2017 with the Technology Innovation for Public Safety (TIPS) Grant, that created LRPD’s Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CGIU) and implemented the highly successful ShotSpotter gunshot detection system in two square miles of the city’s highest crime area. In addition to continuing the evidence-based work that began with the TIPS grant, a large portion of the new grant funding will be dedicated to purchasing an in-house National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) system.
The news release continues, Having a NIBIN system in-house will enable it’s officers 24/7 access to the state-of-the-art Federal ATF system and ensure that crimes scene shell casings can readily be entered into the system to match shell casings obtained from other crime scenes and crime guns.
“I have a huge desire to make sure that Little Rock a safe place for everybody, especially young people in this area,” said Eric Gilmore, Executive Director of Immerse.
Gilmore lives and works in Little Rock. He says he sees crime daily and hopes this grant will push the community in a positive direction.
“One million dollars is probably a great start, there’s so much to be done, I think some of its money, some of it is just people,” said Gilmore.
About one-third of the funds will go to LRPD’s victims’ services, to help hire staff and service specialists.
The news release states, the Victims of Cime Assistance (VOCA) grant will help the police department hire victims’ advocacy staff, such as a volunteer coordinator and victims’ services specialist for Spanish speaking, LGBTQ and/or elderly residents. Additionally, the grant would allow LRPD to provide relocation assistance, childcare aid and basic needs.
“This just gives us more traction in our efforts to help make this city safe especially of violent crime,” said Chief Humphrey.
Lastly, the STOP Violence Against Woman (VWA) grant for $93,692 will add a domestic violence detective to LRPD’s staff.
According to the news release, the VAWA grant would allow LRPD to add a domestic violence detective and help with training costs, including travel.
The news released quoted Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. saying, “We want to make sure we address crime proactively and that we use every tool at our disposal to do so,” Scott continued, “These new grants allow LRPD to take further steps towards making Little Rock the safest city in the South.”
Below is an itemized list of where the funds will be allocated.