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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Sandra Gunn
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888


           WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are co-hosting the first National Watch Groups Summit on May 30-31 in Lexington, KY. The Summit will highlight the work of national, regional, state, and local Watch groups in mobilizing citizen volunteers to support crime prevention and homeland security efforts.

           Domingo S. Herraiz, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Corey Gruber, Acting Deputy Administrator of FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate, will deliver opening remarks to the 65 Summit participants. Director Herraiz will focus on the key principles of Watch programs and their relevance to community crime prevention. "America's Watch programs represent the best of effective prevention efforts, as law enforcement and residents build positive partnerships for long-lasting results," Director Herraiz said in announcing the Summit.

           Deputy Administrator Gruber will highlight how Watch programs can help build community resiliency and bolster national preparedness. "Citizens are a critical part of building our Nation's capacity to prepare, prevent, respond to, and recover from acts of terror, natural disasters, and other emergencies," Gruber said. "The volunteers who participate in Watch groups across the country provide a vital resource in protecting our communities."

           The Summit will be facilitated by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) through a cooperative agreement with BJA and FEMA's Citizen Corps program. Launched in 2002 by the White House, Citizen Corps is the nationwide grassroots movement to actively involve Americans in making our communities and our Nation safer, stronger, and better prepared for all hazards and threats. Citizen Corps engages citizens in local initiatives to prepare, train, and volunteer through a national network of over 2,100 state, local, tribal and territorial Citizen Corps Councils.

           BJA provides leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state, and tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities.

           For additional information, see the Citizen Corps website at and the BJA website at