WASHINGTON, DC  – The Justice Department announced today that it is awarding $2.2 million to the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (NCRLE) in Little Rock, Arkansas, to provide increased support for law enforcement in rural jurisdictions and American Indian communities. These funds represent two awards, one for $700,000 to support the Strategic Information Technology Center (Project Pathfinder) and a second for $1,500,000 to support the Inter-tribal Integrated Justice Pilot Program.   Funds are administered by the Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

            “During a time when information sharing among all participants of the criminal justice community is essential, the Justice Department is committed to ensuring that all law enforcement agencies benefit from access to technological information and services,” said OJP’s Assistant Attorney General Deborah Daniels.

            The $700,000 provides continuation funds for the Strategic Information Technology Center that allows information sharing in the criminal justice community by providing free Internet and e-mail service to over 1,500 rural law enforcement agencies nationwide.  It supports an information clearinghouse and access to research and technical assistance to all levels of government, as well as individual law enforcement agencies.  “Project Pathfinder” established the Strategic Center that supports access to law enforcement grant programs such as the Justice Department’s Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program and Bulletproof Vest Program, and provides telephone and email help-desk services for technical assistance.  BJA has awarded a total of over  $5 million for this project since FY 1999.

The second award for $1.5 million provides funds for the Inter-tribal Integrated Justice Pilot Project with the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and Pueblo of Zuni.  This project creates a technology infrastructure that allows information sharing between tribes and criminal system agencies, assists in the transition from manual to automated practices and implements a network that allows access to information through shared files, data and resources.  A total of $1,562,000 has been awarded for this project since FY 2000.

“To effectively serve their citizens, law enforcement on tribal lands must have the same technology infrastructure as their colleagues across the nation.  These funds will provide effective technological support to enhance the tribal criminal justice system and to improve their ability to respond more effectively to community needs,” said Daniels.

To learn more about BJA’s grant programs, visit the BJA Website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bja.  Information regarding other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/.  Information regarding the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement is available at http://www.ncrle.net/.  Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.



OCPA Contact: Sheila Jerusalem, 202/616-3227