Senator Kirk, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and Local Officials Highlight $18.5 Million in Anti-Gang Initiative Funding

Peoria Is Home to More Than 10 Street Gangs with 400+ Total Members

PEORIA, IL–(ENEWSPF)–February 3, 2014.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tate Chambers and Peoria Park District ELITE Program Director Carl Cannon hosted a press conference yesterday to highlight $18.5 million in federal resources included in 2014 annual federal funding bill which was signed into law in January.

These federal resources are part of a more than six-month effort led by Senator Kirk to provide local law enforcement officials, prosecutors and communities with funding to fight “gangs of national significance.” More than 10 street gangs with a total of more than 400 gang members operate in Peoria according to the Peoria Police Department.

“Peoria gangs like Zone 4 and Bomb Squad bring murder and mayhem to our communities,” Senator Kirk said. “We need federal resources to back up local law enforcement to stop the spread of violence and drugs in our state. Illinois leads the nation in per capita gang members, and we are a top distribution hub for heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Mayor Ardis and other leaders are tackling this problem head on and I will work with them to make Peoria safer.”

Mayor Ardis and local leaders are spearheading an initiative called “DON’T SHOOT,” which aims to reduce gun and gang violence through a series of programs and citywide community education. Partners, including the FBI, ATF, IRS and Peoria Police Departments implement “focused deterrence,” which messages to at-risk communities, and ensures support from law enforcement and citywide professionals. A School Anti-Gun Violence program, a Community Outreach and Education program, and a Most Violent Offender program are also part of the Peoria initiatives. Cities which have tested these anti-violence and recidivism programs have seen a decrease in homicide and gun assaults by over 30 percent.

Below is a breakdown of law enforcement resources included in the 2014 omnibus appropriations act:

$18.5 Million to Fight Gangs of National Significance

$7.5 million for U.S. Marshals Service to operate anti-gang investigative units using their Regional Fugitive Task Force network. Chicago is home to the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lake Regional Task Force Headquarters.

$8.5 million for Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction account (Project Safe Neighborhoods) under State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, “aimed at reducing homicides and gun-related violence crime in communities overwhelmed by gangs of national significance, and illegally trafficked and purchased guns.

$2.5 million in Gang and Youth Violence Education and Prevention in the Office of Juvenile Justice Programs.

Report from DOJ on its strategy to combat gangs of national significance, including best practices for arresting and prosecution large gangs and most effective prevention and intervention techniques.

Report focuses on gangs of national significance that are “linked across the country and internationally to trafficking drugs, guns, money and humans” and “include violence street gangs.”

Lifts hiring freeze at FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorney Offices.

ATF: Total funding of $1.179 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year’s funding to reduce violent crime and enforce firearms laws. Includes funding for “Violent Crime Impact Teams” which “focuses law enforcement’s attention on areas plagued by gang violence.” Includes updating and expanding the National Integrated Ballistic Imaging Network.

FBI: Total funding of $8.343 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent over the previous fiscal year. $60 million increase to expand the existing capacity of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases.

DEA: Total funding of $2.018 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Total funding of $214 million, an increase of 2 percent from the previous fiscal year.

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance (includes JAG Byrne Grants): Total funding of $2.274 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous fiscal year.

US Attorneys: Total funding of $1.944 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Source: kirk.senate.gov