ALTON - The Alton Police Department announced today it recently received notice that it has secured over $800,000 in grant funding. The funding is from two separate grants - the Smart Policing Initiative Grant and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

Alton Police Chief Jarrett Ford said the grants will help assist the department in addressing a variety of goals such as violence prevention, crime mapping and crime data transparency, and equipment needs.

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"The Smart Policing Initiative Grant (SPI) is for $800,000," Chief Ford said. "It is a highly competitive grant with Alton PD being one of only three agencies selected nationwide for the SPI Category 3 grant. The grant is awarded to agencies that are experiencing precipitous increases in crime or in a type(s) of crime within their jurisdictions and propose to implement and test applied justice information-sharing technology designed to respond to the crime increases and improve criminal justice data exchange.

"The goals of this project are to reduce violent crime and growing vehicle thefts, develop a greater commitment to data-driven policing, and vastly expand the police department’s data transparency to the public. Alton Police Department will work on the project with Professor Dennis Mares of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Geospatial and Crime Analyst, Emily Blackburn, both of whom were instrumental in the grant application process."

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Chief Ford continued and said: “I’m extremely excited to receive the SPI grant, and once again partner with Professor Mares and Emily Blackburn. This award will greatly enhance public safety in Alton by more than doubling the number of license plate reader (LPR) and closed-circuit surveillance cameras already in use in Alton. This huge investment in public safety will not only help deter crime but significantly enhance our ability to investigate crimes and hold offenders accountable. This is a huge win for Alton, Alton residents, and the Alton Police Department."

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The JAG program is intended to support a range of activities to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system. JAG funds may be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice, as well as criminal justice-related research and evaluation activities.

The Alton Police Department has received the JAG award for the past few years. This year’s award, approximately $18,000, was applied for with school and public safety in mind. Learning from the Uvalde Texas school shooting, the department recognized the immediate need for equipment sufficient to breach closed/locked doors. The JAG funding will be used to finish purchasing breaching equipment that will be stored in patrol vehicles so that it is immediately available when needed.

“I’d like to offer my congratulations to the Alton Police Department in receiving the Smart Policing Initiative and JAG grant funding," Alton Mayor David Goins said. "This administration is committed to the safety of our citizens and these grants will truly enhance the safety of our citizens and visitors. This major investment in public safety will have an impact on reducing and deterring crime and assist our police department in the investigation of crimes and bringing justice to victims and putting perpetrators behind bars. Kudos to Chief Jarrett Ford and the entire Alton Police Department for their continued efforts in providing the tools that help make our city a safer place to live, work, and play."

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