Carney, Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce $4.2 Million to Help Public Safety, Law Enforcement

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, as well as Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) visited the New Castle County Police Athletic League today to announce more than $4.2 million in federal funding for initiatives to improve transparency in law enforcement, reduce violence and improve mental health services.

This funding is part of nearly $100 million for community projects up and down the state secured by Delaware’s congressional delegation. These investments were included in the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed into law by President Biden on March 15, 2022.

“Building safer communities is on an all-hands-on-deck effort, but it’s critical that our police officers have the resources they need to protect and serve our local communities,” said Carper. “Today, we’re announcing that we secured vital federal funds to help public safety, including $1.6 million to help equip every police officer in the First State with a body-worn camera, and also help improve trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. I’m proud to be here today with the entire Delaware delegation to deliver these critical investments will help build a safer First State.”

“Too often do we task officers with responding to mental health crises without giving them the appropriate resources and trainings,” said Coons. “I’m so glad to join Senator Carper and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester in announcing $4.2 million Congress has delivered to provide additional resources to our law enforcement and community members.”

“It’s never been more important to invest in making our communities stronger,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “These three projects that Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and I were able to secure federal funding for – the Statewide Group Violence Intervention Program Expansion, the Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Unit Expansion, and the Body-Worn Camera Program – will not only diversify the way in which we address our community relations with law enforcement but will also provide resources to the individuals most at risk for violence. I look forward to continuing to work alongside the State and its partners to help expand these programs to create a safer, stronger Delaware.”

“On their own, each of these programs already had the potential to be game changers for our state,” said Delaware’s Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Now, with this new funding secured by our congressional delegation, we are in a better position than ever to reduce violence and recidivism, improve transparency and accountability, and break a vicious, tragic cycle for those whose addictions have driven them to the criminal justice system. I’m grateful to everyone who fought to launch these programs, and to our congressional delegation for securing robust support for this important work.”

“The Criminal Justice Council looks forward to coordinating and implementing these important statewide projects,” said Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the CJC. “We are extremely grateful to our federal delegation for their continued support and confidence in awarding these game changing federal resources.”

The funds went to three projects:

  • $1.9 million for the Statewide Group Violence Intervention Program Expansion to the Delaware Criminal Justice Council: The Delaware Criminal Justice Council will be able to expand the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program into Kent and Sussex Counties and hire program coordinators and highly trained outreach personnel deployed to mediate potentially violent conflicts. Delaware has already invested $1.5 million to implement the GVI program, and the addition of hospital-based and community-based intervention components will significantly increase the program’s effectiveness. The goals of the GVI program are to reduce violent crime statewide by 10 percent, decrease shooting incidents statewide by 10 percent, and offer services and referrals to a minimum of 200 individuals.
  • $1.6 million for the Statewide Body Worn Camera Program to the Delaware Criminal Justice Council: The Delaware Statewide Body-Worn Camera Program is crucial to supporting the relationships between police and communities by improving transparency and accountability. The program will require that any law enforcement officer who interacts with the public wear body cameras. The program seeks funding to ensure all 1,800 officers on the state and local level have body cameras as well as for the necessary personnel and technology to administer the program and properly store and review the camera’s footage.
  • $749,000 for the Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Unit Expansion to New Castle County Police Department: This funding will allow the New Castle County Police Department to hire a peer advocate on the Hero Help outreach team to respond to non-fatal overdoses and conduct referrals for individuals dealing with Substance Use Disorder. Peer advocates can better connect to potential program participants, as studies show that people with substance abuse experience can break down barriers and resistance to treatment more effectively than those without personal experience. Additionally, the money would allow NCCPD to create a new co-responder team within the Mental Health Unit. Most of the co-responder units’ time is currently dedicated to conducting follow-ups, referrals, and repeat calls for service with a mental health nexus. To streamline the process, this new team will allow NCCPD to have two teams handle crisis responses and a third team to specifically focus on follow-ups, referrals, and repeat calls.