Feds give Utah $9.9 million to fight crime

Published: Thursday, Oct. 8 2015 5:59 p.m. MDT

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced $9.9 million in grants for Utah on Wednesday that, as part of the economic stimulus, are designed to create jobs and help beef up law enforcement and crime prevention in the state.

"By addressing Utah's economic challenges while simultaneously meeting the state's public-safety priorities, these funds represent the best of what the Recovery Act can do for our communities," Holder said. "This vital funding will help fight crime and build safer communities, and we look forward to continued work with Utah to address these criminal-justice goals."

The money comes as part of $4 billion extra nationwide that Congress put into the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program as part of the stimulus. The money is designed to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement and crime prevention while supporting the creation of jobs.

The program awards 60 percent of the money to the state and requires the state to subgrant 40 percent to local governments.

In addition to the $9.9 million to the state, Holder said, a local justice-assistance grant of $41,526 was also being given to Logan.

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, hailed the grants.

"This successful grant program has given Utah law enforcement teams around the state more resources to fight crime and keep communities safe," he said. "At a time when state and local law enforcement budgets are stretched thin, this recovery funding will help keep police and prosecutors on the job and working on public safety."

The Utah Department of Corrections announced that nearly $1 million of the federal stimulus funding would go to help offenders find and keep meaningful employment.

The Department said it plans to use the funds to create an Offender Employment Coordination program, which will connect offenders on probation or parole with employers across the state. The Department will now be able to hire up to 12 full-time employees who would be agents and liaisons to work with local employers and match their needs with job opportunities for the offenders.

"This funding will allow the Department of Corrections to continue its focus on helping offenders succeed, as well as provide employment opportunities for our staff at a time when budget cuts have forced the loss of many positions within our agency," Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Patterson said. "We are grateful for this funding, which is really a win for Corrections staff, offenders and continued public safety throughout Utah."

Contributing: Ethan Thomas. E-MAIL: lee@desnews.com

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