Nearly $2 million awarded to enhance public safety, curb the sale of illegal drugs, fight addiction
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced nearly $2 million in grant funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). These funds provide much needed resources for law enforcement agencies and nonprofit agencies throughout Kentucky's 120 counties enhance public safety and create a better, safer commonwealth for future generations.
“Ensuring the safety of our communities in Kentucky requires in-depth coordination among all agencies invested in the security of the commonwealth's citizens," said Gov. Beshear. “This federal JAG funding is essential in improving our collaborative work to end drug use and keep our most vulnerable populations safe."
JAG is the primary vehicle of federal criminal justice funding to states and local jurisdictions and supports a broad array of programming, including law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, nonprofit organizations and other public agencies. Funded programs include prevention and education programs, drug treatment and education programs, mental health programs and crime victim and witness programs.
This year, $1,956,195 in federal funds has been awarded to the commonwealth to allow law enforcement agencies access to new resources, expand personnel and receive much needed equipment to create safer communities today and into the future. Historically, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has awarded JAG funding to support drug task forces operating across the commonwealth. In addition to continuing this priority, funding this year was made available to support victim advocacy and assistance programs and a community mental health support team. This expansion allows law enforcement to protect communities by expanding support to citizens that need it the most, reducing cycles of crime and incarceration by building relationships with those they serve.
“Kentucky's law enforcement agencies provide critical services to the people of the commonwealth. However, they are consistently in need of additional resources, funding, equipment and programming to improve the safety of Kentuckians," Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey said. “The necessary work of these agencies enhances the safety, security and wellbeing of each of us, and this grant funding will help them continue and expand their important services for all Kentuckians."
For a full list of 2022-2023 JAG sub-award recipients, please visit the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet's website. Leaders from several state and local law enforcement agencies said what receiving the funds means to the service and protection of Kentucky.
“This JAG grant funding will allow the Georgetown Police Department to implement a community health support team to improve access and expand services to those in our community suffering from mental health and substance use issues. Through this opportunity, we hope to reduce recidivism and offer help to an often overlooked and vulnerable population by moving to full-time, sustainable and dedicated officers that will be assigned to this unit," Georgetown Police Department Police Chief Michael Bosse said.
Warren County Fiscal Court Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving said the JAG grant funding allows the task force to continue drug enforcement efforts to stem the flow of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and meth during this time of record setting overdose deaths. “We combine local, state and federal officers to work as one team to combat the challenge. This multi-agency approach has proved to be very successful, and this grant allows us to continue the fight."
Beshear-Coleman Administration Enhances Public Safety
The Beshear-Coleman administration's top priority is the safety of all those in the commonwealth. Through partnerships across the state government, including the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the public safety actions already taken by the Governor to fight the ongoing drug epidemic and create safer communities are bettering Kentucky now and for future generations.
The recently enacted bipartisan state budget signed by Gov. Andy Beshear allows the commonwealth to take additional steps forward to make Kentucky a leader in public safety by enhancing law enforcement training, creating safer communities and improving the safety of both law enforcement officers and Kentuckians. In July, the Governor announced additional steps to enhance public and officer safety, including funding for firearms training, Western Kentucky training facility, and an increased training stipend for officers.
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has awarded almost $8 million in grant funding to assist state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase the tools and resources needed to not only protect our communities, but also ensure the safety of law enforcement as they work on the front lines each and every day.
In June, Gov. Beshear announced the Military to Law Enforcement Program (M-2-LE). M-2-LE allows local law enforcement agencies in Kentucky to hire active service members within all branches of the U.S. Military during their last 180 days of service. Upon being contracted by a law enforcement agency, the military member will continue to receive their pay and benefits from the U.S. Military while they undergo law enforcement training at DOCJT.
Beshear-Coleman Administration Commitment to Fighting the Drug Epidemic
In June, the Governor also announced that Kentucky is working to establish counties as “Recovery Ready Communities." This program will help individuals who are fighting addiction receive critical resources at no cost and will work to reduce the ongoing public health crisis that is sweeping across the nation. This is in response to Gov. Beshear signing House Bill 7 last year, which ensures communities are recovery-ready through the availability of high quality recovery programs offered within their area.
In April, the Governor signed into law two pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly to make historic investments in law enforcement by providing funds to the Kentucky State Police to recruit, train and retain its essential workforce needed to provide the highest level of security to all Kentuckians. House Bill 259 ensures that all troopers will receive a $15,000 raise. Additionally, KSP's starting pay for sworn officers will increase from $37,887 to $55,888 annually. By signing Senate Bill 209, Gov. Beshear established paid vacation, sick leave and holiday pay, as well as enhanced health insurance contribution payments for retired KSP troopers and CVE officers.
During the 2022 legislative session, Gov. Beshear continued his work to champion legislation to fight the drug epidemic and ensure necessary support is available to those who are struggling with addiction. The Governor worked with a bipartisan group of state leaders to act on recommendations made by The Pew Charitable Trusts targeting the opioid crisis. This includes signing Senate Bill 90 into law which provides eligible individuals the alternative of receiving treatment for a behavioral health disorder instead of incarceration, expands recovery-ready housing and access to treatment for pregnant and parenting people in rural areas.
Additionally, the Governor took legislative action to help those suffering from an addiction who are not in a position to seek help for themselves. Casey's Law, signed in 2004, has helped more than 6,000 Kentuckians battling addiction by allowing families and loved ones to seek a court order for involuntary treatment for anyone in active addiction who refuses treatment on their own. Gov. Beshear signed House Bill 362 in April to expand on the benefit of Casey's Law by permitting the court to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, if an individual should be ordered to undergo treatment for a substance use disorder. At this time, the court shall order treatment for a specific amount of time. If the individual fails to undergo treatment, they will be held in contempt of court.
By the end of this year, ODCP estimates it will have awarded more than $69 million in grant funding to programs across the state that provide treatment services and recovery programs, as well as employment and job training in the past three years alone. This grant funding will allow Kentuckians the opportunity to get safe and effective treatment easier than ever before.
Also, as the Governor recommended in January 2022, $12.2 million was included in the state budget for KSP to purchase body cameras, which is the first time in the commonwealth's history that funding has been allocated for this much-needed expense.
The 2022-2023 JAG funding is in addition to millions of dollars of grant funding announced by the Beshear-Coleman administration in 2021. This includes more than $570,000 to the Jeffersontown Police Department and Access to Justice Commission to develop a variety of treatment options; almost $1.2 million to implement a project creating pathways to recovery and healing for individuals suffering from addiction; $1,698,441 in federal grant funding to assist the fight against the opioid epidemic through targeted drug trafficking enforcement; and $188,784 to ensure that children negatively impacted by parental addiction have access to legal services, community resources and therapeutic services.
Gov. Beshear has championed legislative action like Senate Bill 64 and House Bill 254, making it easier for law enforcement to conduct undercover stings and increase the chances of stopping a horrific crime against a child from being facilitated through the internet. These actions will also provide law enforcement officers with the authority to charge offenders with harsher crimes to keep them away from the public, preventing further interactions with Kentucky's most vulnerable population.
Treatment Resources for Kentuckians Fighting an Addiction
Call the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP (833-859-4357) to speak one-on-one with a specialist who can connect Kentuckians to treatment.
Visit findhelpnowky.org to find information about available space in treatment programs and providers based on location, facility type and category of treatment needed.
Visit the KSP website to find one of KSP's 16 posts where those suffering from addiction can be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program. The Angel Initiative is completely voluntary, and individuals will not be arrested or charged with any new drug violations if they agree to participate in treatment.
For a video from Gov. Beshear on available treatment and resources, and the importance of knowing how to respond to an overdose, click here.