Photo by Thomas Def on Unsplash

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded a $700,000 federal grant to the Paterson Police Department to establish a Crime Gun Intelligence Center in the Silk City. Today’s grant is part of DOJ’s Local Law Enforcement Crime Gun Intelligence Center Integration Initiative, which helps local police utilize state-of-the-art technology to locate crime guns and their sources and effectively prosecute perpetrators. Rep. Pascrell strongly advocated in support of the City’s grant application to DOJ.

“Our brave men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. It is imperative that they have every resource they need to continue their vital work,” said Rep. Pascrell.“Big cities like Paterson have been the epicenter of America’s gun violence epidemic. With this grant, Paterson PD will have new tools and technology to swiftly identify guns used for criminal purposes and prosecute those who put our community in harm’s way. I want to thank the Biden administration for its continued commitment to public safety and I will continue working with them to bring home every federal dollar available for our state.”

“We are profoundly grateful to Congressman Pascrell for his steadfast support for public safety in Paterson,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “This is announcement couldn’t come at a more fortuitous time. Like many cities across the country, we are combating a spike in gun violence but our police need additional resources. This grant gives us the tools and technology necessary to bring violent criminals to justice.”

“This grant will enable us to be ahead of the criminals,” said Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale. “The Crime Gun Intelligence Center will provide essential information, which will help us prevent gun violence in our city while sharing information and working with our partners.”

Rep. Pascrell has championed efforts to help state and local law enforcement better trace crime guns as the lead sponsor of the Crime Gun Tracing Modernization Act with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). This legislation would finally give the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) the ability to electronically search for the records of guns used in crimes across the country.

Today’s announcement comes just weeks after Rep. Pascrell’s Protecting America’s First Responders Act (PAFRA) was signed into law by President Biden. The legislation significantly improves benefits for first responders and their families should injury or death occur in the line of duty. That same day, Rep. Pascrell and President Biden announced more than $4.2 million in federal police hiring grants for two Passaic County departments. Rep. Pascrell convened police and fire officials, union representatives, and local leaders to announce these milestone achievements last week.

Rep. Pascrell was also the principal sponsor of H.R. 2379, a congressional reauthorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, which was signed into law on May 24, 2019. Rep. Pascrell’s legislation permanently authorized $30,000,000 annually for the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Grant Program. Rep. Pascrell additionally authored the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865), a law enacted last Congress, which led to the minting of coins in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington.

Rep. Pascrell has fought for years to fully fund the Byrne JAG program, the COPS Hiring program, and other key funding streams for state and local law enforcement. Earlier this year, he led a bipartisan group of 159 Members of Congress in support of robust funding for our federal policing grants.

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