Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) have introduced legislation seeking to reauthorize the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program to provide $1.095 billion of much-needed support to state and local law enforcement task forces and other agencies each year through FY2012.

The legislation, which was introduced yesterday evening, would reauthorize the Byrne/JAG program for a period of five additional years at the same level that Congress authorized for FY2006. 

“The Byrne/JAG grants are used to support multi-jurisdictional task forces in their fight against drug and firearm traffickers, gangs, and organized crime,” Senator Feinstein said.  “This program has proven effective and shown real results for more than two decades.  Using these funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have removed massive quantities of controlled substances and weapons from our streets.”

Senator Feinstein continued, “It is vital to our state and local law enforcement agencies, and especially to the smaller and rural jurisdictions that depend heavily on these grants, that we continue to fully fund this program.”

Senator Chambliss said, “I have heard first-hand from Georgia’s law enforcement community that this funding is critical to their efforts in fighting crime and drugs and keeping our citizens in both rural and urban communities safe.”

 The legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Joe Biden (D-Del.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).For more than 20 years, grants from the Byrne/JAG program and its predecessor programs have funded state and local drug task forces, community crime prevention programs, substance abuse treatment programs, prosecution initiatives, and many other local crime control programs.

The grants are administered by the U.S. Justice Department, with 60 percent of the funds going to state agencies and 40 percent set aside for distribution to local governments. The Byrne/JAG program provides one of the only sources of federal funds for sheriffs and police chiefs in many smaller and rural towns and counties.

The program was named after New York Police officer Edward Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty in 1988.