Several law enforcement agencies in South Carolina are splitting up a federal grant to fight gangs and gun violence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for South Carolina announced last week that it is awarding the grants to four different agencies across the state.
The grants total more than $157,000 and go to the sheriff’s offices in Anderson and Barnwell Counties, along with the Spartanburg public safety department. A small grant is also set aside for the state Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice programs for statistical analysis.
Stacey Haynes of the state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office coordinates Project CeaseFire in South Carolina, an initiative of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which coordinates local, state, and federal agencies to help fight gun crimes. She says the grants are necessary because:
Gang violence is being addressed at every level of law enforcement–state, local and federal. We have found that the best way we can address the violence is to work together. That’s what we do at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we assist the local agencies and provide resources to them that they don’t normally have.
Haynes said Anderson County got the grant due to their past success at using federal money effectively. She said Barnwell’s Sheriffs’ Department received a $55,000 grant to expand its G.R.E.A.T. program– short for Gang Resistance Education And Training. Spartanburg’s department will use its grant for a “gun reduction officer.”
Project CeaseFire receives a share of federal money for its initiative. A committee of solicitors and defense attorneys reviews proposals from different law enforcement agencies around the state and score them. The top scoring proposals are then selected for funding.