2:00 P.M.EOWS
FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 1999202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a new Justice Department effort to reduce crime and revitalize neighborhoods, Norwalk, Connecticut, 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.

"This mobile police station will become an important part of the community," said Noel Brennan, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "The MCOPS van will assist residents of Norwalk by providing them with easier access to officers, which will enable them to get the help they need."

The mobile station will be used to expand Norwalk's community policing and neighborhood revitalization program.. 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, 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 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 Norwalk mobile station is one of only six that the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) is providing to Weed and Seed sites across the nation. Other cities that have received the units are Indianapolis, Indiana; Oakland, California; Fort Myers, Florida; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

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 web site 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