EMBARGOED FOR RELEASEEOWS
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1998202/307-0703

NEW ORLEANS GETS STATE-OF-THE-ART MOBILE POLICE STATION

One of Only Six in Nation from Justice Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a new Justice Department effort to reduce crime and revitalize neighborhoods, New Orleans today received a new state-of-the-art mobile police station. The Mobile Community Outreach Police Station (MCOPS) initiative is a new part of the Department's successful Weed and Seed program.

The station was unveiled today at the city's Iberville Housing Development. Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, New Orleans Chief of Police Richard Pennington, and Stephen Rickman, Director of the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) participated in today's announcement.

"This mobile police station will do more than just improve law enforcement, it will become an important part of the community," said Assistant Attorney General Robinson. "The MCOPS van will assist the residents of New Orleans by providing them with easier access to officers, which will enable them to get the help they need." contact with community residents and allow for quick dispatch of officers in response to service calls. It will also allow for special law enforcement deployment operations and make it easier for officers to participate in community meetings and forums.

In addition to its use for basic law enforcement functions, the station can be used to provide services such as child immunization, blood pressure screening for the elderly, and childcare screening.

The station, which was custom built by for the Justice Department by Lynch Diversified Vehicles in Burlington, Wisconsin, features a full communications area, including radios, a fax machine and an interfaced phone system. It also includes two full workstations and a conference room. The New Orleans' mobile station is one of six that EOWS is providing to Weed and Seed sites across the nation. The other cities that have already received the MCOPS vehicles are Indianapolis, IN; Fort Myers, FL; and Oakland, CA..

"This is more than a police vehicle," said Director Rickman. "Think of it as a new neighbor that will provide law enforcement and other community services to residents in a timely fashion."

Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted neighborhoods and then "seeds" the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating federal, state, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with federal, state, and local social services, and private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also recognizes the paramount importance of community involvement. Community residents must be empowered to assist in solving problems in their neighborhoods. In addition, the private sector is involved as a pivotal partner in the Weed and Seed strategy.

To learn more about the other Weed and Seed programs and conferences, visit the EOWS Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/eows.

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6800