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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1997202/307-0703

Florida Receives Over $36.9 Million for Local Law Enforcement Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Florida was awarded $531,984 today under the Justice Department's Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program. These funds will be used by the state to reduce crime and improve public safety in local jurisdictions.

The Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program, now in its second year, is administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Justice Department agency that supports implementation of comprehensive criminal justice strategies developed by each state and territory. BJA also supports state and local efforts through testing innovative approaches in preventing and controlling crime.

"Florida can use these funds to build on efforts initiated with last year's LLEBG grants," said BJA Director Nancy Gist. "We are proud to work with the states through the LLEBG program to assist them to prevent crime and make their streets safer."

Based on the program's formula as established by Congress, jurisdictions are awarded a specific amount based on the level of the most serious, violent crimes. Jurisdictions whose award would be $10,000 or more receive funds directly from BJA. The aggregate of all of the awards smaller than $10,000 is provided to the state. Florida intends to use the funds to make awards to units of local government that did not qualify for direct awards.

In addition to this direct state award, 181 jurisdictions in Florida are eligible for awards totaling over $36.4 million to reduce crime and improve public safety. Among the larger awards are $4,739,481 for Dade County, $2,532,170 for Jacksonville and $2,285,687 for Tampa.

Last year, Florida received over $35 million under the LLEBG program. The state received $543,062 to distribute to local jurisdictions that were not eligible for direct awards, and approximately 196 jurisdictions that qualified for direct awards received over $34.5 million.

The Omnibus Fiscal Year 1997 Appropriations Act, Public Law 104-208, provided $523 million for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program. States have two years from the date of the initial award by BJA to expend the funds. At the end of that two-year period, the state must return remaining funds to BJA.

For further information at the state level, please contact Clayton Wilder, Florida Department of Community Affairs, at 904/488-8016.

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BJA 98-007-FL

After hours page Doug Johnson at 1-888/582-6753