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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1999202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a new Justice Department effort to reduce crime and revitalize neighborhoods, the District of Columbia today received a new state-of-the-art mobile police station. The Mobile Community Outreach Police Station (MCOPS) initiative is a new facet of the Department's successful Weed and Seed program.

"This mobile police station will become an important part of the community," said Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. "The MCOPS van will assist residents of District of Columbia by providing them with easier access to officers, which will enable them to get the help they need."

The mobile station will be used to expand District of Columbia's community policing and neighborhood revitalization program. It will also allow for special law enforcement deployment operations and make it easier for officers to participate in community meetings and forums. In addition, the station can be used to provide services such as child immunization, blood pressure screening, and childcare screening.

"The addition of the MCOPS vehicle will further enhance the efforts already underway to revitalize these neighborhoods within our nation's capital," said Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "It will strengthen the bonds that have already been forged in this most important effort." OJP oversees the national Weed and Seed program.

The station, which was custom built for the Justice Department by Lynch Diversified Vehicles in Burlington, Wisconsin, features a full communications area, including radios, a fax machine and an interfaced phone system. It also includes two full workstations and a conference room.

The Washington, D.C. mobile station is one of six that the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) is providing to Weed and Seed sites across the nation. Other cities that have received the units are Indianapolis, Indiana; Oakland, California; Fort Myers, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Norwalk, Connecticut.

Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted neighborhoods and then "seeds" the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating federal, state, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with federal, state, and local social services, and private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also recognizes the paramount importance of community involvement. Community residents must be empowered to assist in solving problems in their neighborhoods. In addition, the private sector is involved as a pivotal partner in the Weed and Seed strategy.

Washington, DC, was an original Weed and Seed demonstration site and has been funded since 1992. The site has received over $2,200,000.

The original target area was a 30-block area in the northeast quadrant of the District; a section largely comprised of two housing areas, Langston Dwellings and Carver Terrace. In 1995, the District of Columbia initiative was expanded to include the Marshall Heights/Eastgate neighborhood, which is located in the southeast section of the city. The initiative expanded again in the fall of 1998 to include two additional target areas: Ivy City and Trinidad and the North Capitol Collaborative.

To learn more about the other Weed and Seed programs and conferences, visit the EOWS web site at

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6800