Wyden, Merkley Announce $6 Million in Funding for Public Safety, Student Mentoring Projects in Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. – Continuing efforts to make sure Oregon law enforcement have the resources and personnel to effectively fight crime and protect victims, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D- Ore.) announced that projects to boost public safety programs throughout the state are included in a bill passed by the Senate Appropriations committee today.

“Oregon must have the resources to effectively fight increasingly sophisticated criminals,” Wyden said. “This funding will put the tools for success in the hands of Oregon’s law enforcement agencies as well as help to protect crime victims promoting justice throughout the process.”

“This bill will help provide Oregon’s public safety officers with the tools necessary to keep our families and children safe,” said Merkley. “The funding announced today will aid crime victims, including the most vulnerable among us – our children.”

Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate and upon passage will be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the President for his signature.

Projects in the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill include:

National Crime Victim Law Institute (Nationwide) – $2,500,000
A portion of these funds will be used to hire staff positions in Oregon for the organization that provides pro bono legal services, a coordinated pro bono attorney network, and substantial technical assistance and training for victims of crime in Oregon. The program — based in Portland — asserts and seeks enforcement of victims rights in criminal courts, and ensures that criminal justice professionals in the system are fully informed about how to respond to such rights assertion.

Child Pornography Investigation and Prosecution Team – $1,000,000
Funds will allow the Oregon Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to hire an experienced full-time prosecutor, two criminal investigators, and support staff.  The task force is the only state law enforcement program with the training and expertise to investigate and prosecute the manufacture, distribution, and possession child pornography. The existing ICAC team will be able to quickly train and provide support to new staff

Oregon State Police Mobile Data Center – $500,000
Funds will be spent to upgrade and enhance applications to allow secure mobile access for Oregon State Police Officers and to develop applications that can generate reports, write citations, and support mobile video systems.

Oregon Seafloor Mapping for Tsunami Hazards and Ecosystem Benefit – $500,000
Funds will be used to create a detailed bathymetric map to enable more effective tsunami inundation modeling for all vulnerable coastal communities, where only about half are covered today. Modeling will help to create safety plans for Oregon coast in the event of a tsunami.

Project Clean State – $450,000
Funds will be used to support a program that reduces legal and practical barriers from individuals who can’t obtain housing, employment, education and other services.

Clackamas County Interagency Poly-Drug Enforcement Initiative – $400,000
Funds will be used to provide the Interagency Task Force with the additional personnel and new tools not commonly used in local law enforcement investigations to enhance effectiveness against sophisticated drug trafficking tactics.

South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team (SCINT) – $350,000
Funds will be used to increase regional efforts to counter illegal drug activities and promote public safety.

Child Investment Initiative – $300,000
Funds will employ paid, professional mentors and help Friends of the Children reach significantly more vulnerable children.  The Friends of the Children program provides, a “Friend” who spends an average of 16 hours per month with each child providing academic support, setting short-term goals, teaching life skills, modeling healthy behavior and problem solving, nurturing interests and talents, and exposing them to new places and experiences.