Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 6, 2023

Department of Justice Programs awards nearly $2M in grant funding to Hamilton County

Nearly $2 million in grants from the Department of Justice will go toward enhancing public education, improving law enforcement and reducing recidivism in Hamilton County.

The local recipients of the funds include the city of Chattanooga, First Things First and the Hamilton County Board of Education.

Chattanooga’s police department received the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, also known as the JAG Grant. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is a sub-recipient of the grant.

The allotment for the 2023 JAG is $192,244, of which the CPD will receive $134,571 and the HCSO will receive $57,672. Both departments will use the funds to purchase equipment and attend training that will further their mission to keep the local community safe, says Sgt. Victor Miller of the CPD.

“The equipment and training will assist us with law enforcement, crime prevention and technology improvements,” added Miller.

First Things First will receive $764,508 from the Department of Justice Programs. Formed in 1997, the nonprofit provides relationship tools to married couples and parents.

First Things First will use the awarded funds to expand two programs – Dads Making a Difference and Songbird. Both programs focus on providing education and access to resources for noncustodial mothers and fathers who are facing incarceration for child support noncompliance and want to spend more time with their children.

The long-term vision of these programs is to “reduce recidivism, break negative relational cycles, develop positive relational patterns and pass down strong relationship skills to the next generation,” says First Things First President and CEO Lauren Hall.

“DMD and Songbird provide participants coordinated access to case management, relationship education and therapy. These three domains work in tandem to break generational cycles of familial dysfunction. The three domains require extensive partnerships to meet the needs of low-income and at-risk families, as well as coaching to assist families as they move between domains.

“We’re grateful the DOJ provided this opportunity to our organization and to the families in our community. As we continue to assess and develop DMD and Songbird through the support of the DOJ, we hope to establish a replicable framework that can be used in cities and communities throughout the nation.”

The Hamilton County Board of Education will receive $1 million in Department of Justice funding.

A dozen East Tennessee organizations are receiving almost $6.5 million in Department of Justice funding, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The Office of Justice Programs is a federal agency that provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and uphold the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

The agency’s six program offices support state, local and tribal community safety efforts, crime victim assistance and compensation programs, juvenile justice and child protection activities, sex offender management, training and technical assistance opportunities, criminal justice research and statistical collections covering a host of justice system topics.

The Office of Justice Programs are making its 2023 awards as part of the regular end-of-fiscal year cycle.