Greenville NC Police Chief seeks Crime Prevention Program Relaunch

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William Anderson

Greenville's police chief wants to relaunch a crime prevention program that was canceled five years ago.

Police Chief William Anderson will seek City Council permission to hire a consultant to prepare an application to become a Weed and Seed site. Funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, Weed and Seed works by encouraging communities to reduce crime through prevention and then revitalize communities.

Anderson is scheduled to make his presentation Monday when the City Council meets at 6 p.m. in its chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 200 W. Fifth St.

The city of Greenville operated a Weed and Seed program from 1997 until it lost federal certification and funding in 2002. The city briefly continued funding the project until 2003 when an attempt to secure a new grant failed.

"We've met with representatives of the U.S. Attorney's office to talk to them about the old grant and if the past would have any impact on the new grant and they assured us it would not," Anderson said.

The Justice Department decided to end funding when an October 2001 review revealed the Greenville program failed to spend thousands of dollars in federal grant money allotted to the program, according to a February 2002 news report. The program had $68,000 of a $221,606 budget left over for the 2000-01 fiscal year.

When program organizers sought re-certification, the request was turned down with a justice department report stating, "The site understands the concepts of Weed and Seed but is not able to articulate them in this application."

Anderson said he believes new leadership on the Greenville City Council, combined with a new city manager and new police chief, will create a successful program the second time around.

"The path we're going to take is going to be a little different with a different steering committee and new goals," he said. Aug. 19 is the deadline for draft application. The full application is due in early September.

The consultant's fee will range between $8,000-$10,000 and is already part of the police department's budget, according to a memorandum to the City Council. If the grant is awarded, the city will need to provide a match of either 25 percent cash or in-kind services.


About Weed & Seed

Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), is an innovative, comprehensive multiagency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization. CCDO oversees the Weed and Seed initiative.

Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy-rather than a grant program-that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in designated high-crime neighborhoods across the country. The more than 250 Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to several square miles, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 50,000.

The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to "seed" much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements.

At each site, the relevant U.S. Attorney's Office plays a leadership role in organizing local officials, community representatives, and other key stakeholders to form a steering committee. The U.S. Attorney's Office also facilitates coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts so that sites effectively use federal law enforcement partners in weeding strategies. In some instances, the U.S. Attorney's Office helps sites mobilize resources from a variety of federal agencies for seeding programs.

The Weed and Seed strategy is a multilevel strategic plan that includes four basic components: law enforcement; community policing; prevention, intervention, and treatment; and neighborhood restoration. Four fundamental principles underlie the Weed and Seed strategy: collaboration, coordination, community participation, and leveraging of resources.

In most Weed and Seed sites, joint task forces of law enforcement agencies from all levels of government aim to reduce both crime and fear of crime, which gives back hope to residents living in distressed neighborhoods and sets the stage for community revitalization. Community policing embraces two key concepts-community engagement and problem solving. Community policing strategies foster a sense of responsibility within the community for solving crime problems and help develop cooperative relationships between the police and residents.

The prevention, intervention, and treatment component concentrates an array of human services on the designated neighborhood and links law enforcement, social services agencies, the private sector, and the community to improve the overall quality of services to residents. Every Weed and Seed site is required to establish a Safe Haven, a multiservice center often housed in a school or community center, where many youth- and adult-oriented services are delivered. Through coordinated use of federal, state, local, and private-sector resources, neighborhood restoration strategies focus on economic development, employment opportunities for residents, and improvements to the housing stock and physical environment of the neighborhood.

Communities interested in becoming Weed and Seed Communities (WSCs) must submit a Notice of Intent to the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO). WSCs must be developed in partnership with many local organizations to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in a community primarily through the redeployment of existing public and private resources into the community.

Promoting the long-term health and resilience of the community is a true goal of Weed and Seed, so sustainability must be a key part of a site's structure. The foundation for sustainability involves maintaining the steering committee as a mechanism for ongoing implementation of the Weed and Seed strategy beyond the life of the grant and identifying and securing existing and new resources and funding sources.

Important Legislative Changes

  • New congressional legislation mandates that the DEA special agent in charge serve on the Weed and Seed Steering Committee in a voting capacity.

  • New congressional legislation mandates that the U.S. Attorney serve as a voting member of the Weed and Seed Steering Committee.

  • All Weed and Seed budgets must include a 25% Match, as the Federal share of this grant-funded project may not exceed 75 percent of the total project costs. The requirement may be satisfied in cash or in-kind. Pay close attention to the new Match requirement and calculate appropriately. Use the sample Budget Details and sample Budget Narrative to assist you in correctly developing your budget.

  • The Special Emphasis program has been reduced from $50,000 to $25,000. Remember that special emphasis funding is part of the total funding request for Continuation Sites. If you do not use the entire $25,000 for a special emphasis program, you must deduct it from your funding request.

  • Total funding for each site is capped at $1 million

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