Gov. Phil Murphy ventured to Paterson to announce the investment of over $15 million to combat gun violence.
In seeking to fund police officers and non profits, the Murphy Administration will allocate $7 million in gunshot detection technology and other law enforcement equipment to reduce gun violence using federal American Rescue Plan funds as well as awarding 25 non-profit organizations $8.2 million in grant funding for community-based violence intervention (CBVI) programming, the largest such investment in New Jersey’s history.
Murphy said the money is an attempt to make New Jersey communities safer while “(continuing) advocating for commonsense gun safety measures.”
Funding the Police
“Combating gun violence is a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted approach,” said Murphy in his remarks in Paterson on Jan. 27 with Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “The funding will provide resources to both law enforcement agencies and community partners, equipping them with much-needed resources as we continue to fight the epidemic of gun violence.”
The $7 million investment is an attempt to acquire and enhance gunshot detection technology and related infrastructure improvements. Backers of this proclaim it will make it easier for first responders and law enforcement to more effectively respond to—and reduce—gun violence in New Jersey’s communities.
Spike in Gun Violence
The funding, coming amid a national spike in gun violence and debate in funding levels for police, will allow recipients to acquire a fully integrated network of three distinct systems, including an acoustic detection system, a video management system, and a system of automatic license plate readers. Lawmakers said these systems combined allow first responders to more quickly render lifesaving medical aid to victims of gun violence and assist law enforcement in identifying shooters, leading to faster apprehension and reduced instances of retaliatory violence.
The funding comes in the wake of the Paterson Police Department reporting 110 shooting incidents in Paterson, resulting in 18 homicides by gunfire in 2021.
“The $7 million…will help provide state-of-the-art technologies to combat the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. “This funding comes directly from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which I proudly helped pass last year. With it, our communities’ Finest will have the tools and resources they need to prevent and respond to gun violence…let us redouble our efforts to stomp-out gun violence in our streets. Enough is enough.”
Through this investment, agencies like the Paterson Police Department will be able to direct resources to areas where they are most necessary and at the exact time when such service means the difference between life and death. The technology will also help prosecutors obtain the kind of evidence necessary to meet their burden of proof and uphold community faith in the justice system.
“Public safety is a high priority in Paterson,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We are combating gun violence in Paterson and this initiative will enhance our efforts.”
Monies for Non-Profits
Besides the additional funding for police, the (CBVI) recipients of $8.2 million in state grant dollars for violence intervention programs includes 25 community organizations in 15 municipalities statewide This historic investment will support intervention strategies that provide alternatives to violence and embody a community-based public safety model.
Among the recipients are two non-profit organizations that serve the Paterson area: Reimagining Justice, Inc. and the Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, both of which work to build community support for violence reduction.
“The NJVIP community advocates have worked tirelessly to advocate for investment for community based public safety organizations to get meaningful investment for the lifesaving boot-on-the-ground work we have been doing in our communities to end gun violence,” said Dr. Liza Chowdhury of Reimagining Justice.
Recipients of Grants
“This investment will help our organizations address the pain people face in communities most impacted by violence, provide desperately needed resources that help communities thrive and do the important prevention work that is needed so we don’t have to wait for someone to be the next gunshot victim.”
Among the North Jersey CBVI’s receiving funding include Juvenile Education and Awareness Project in Passaic ($47,087); Reimagining Justice, Inc. in Paterson ($500,000); Newark Community Street Team, Inc. in Newark ($499,996); Hope and Future, Inc. in West New York ($250,000); After School All Stars New Jersey in Newark ($118,950); United Community Corporation in Newark ($500,000); Anti-Violence Coalition of Hudson County in Jersey City ($500,000); Inside Outside Circle Foundation in Newark ($181,153); The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center in Newark ($487,343); Hear My Cries A NJ Nonprofit Organization in Newark ($498,000); REFAL, INC. in Newark ($500,000); and Weequahic Park Environmental Authority, Newark ($227,000).