OJP Press Release letterhead

Monday, June 21, 2004
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Sheila Jerusalem
202-307 0703


     WASHINGTON, DC - Michael J. Costigan, the former Executive Director of the Virginia Project Exile-Project Safe Neighborhoods Foundation, has been named Director of the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education (OPCLEE), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) dedicated to training and equipping police officers across the country.

     "As the Office of the Police Corps' new director, Michael Costigan will bring experience and vision to our mission of enhancing the capabilities of local law enforcement through increased education and training. He understands public safety issues through his extensive experience in the development and implementation of the nation's first statewide gun crime program, Project Exile," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels. "He will bring that knowledge and foresight to his new assignment."

     The Police Corps is designed to address violent crime by helping police and sheriffs' departments increase the number of officers with advanced education and training assigned to community patrol. The program offers competitive college scholarships for students who agree to work in a state or local police force for at least four years. Students accepted into the Police Corps receive up to $3,500 a year to cover the expenses of study toward a bachelor's or graduate degree.

     "I firmly believe that by increasing the professional stature of law enforcement officers through training and education, we will increase their effectiveness and thus create safer communities," said Costigan. "I look forward to working with all levels of law enforcement to find creative solutions to long-standing community problems as we work to strengthen our ability to protect citizens from violence in their communities."

     Prior to his appointment, Costigan served under former Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore, III, where he directed Virginia's Project Exile program. Project Exile, initiated by the Justice Department's current Deputy Attorney General, James Comey, is the precursor of President Bush's Project-Safe Neighborhoods, an aggressive approach to reducing gun crime in communities across America. Costigan began his work in public safety in 1988 while working as Special Assistant to the Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice under Attorney General Edwin Meese, III. He later worked on educational and philanthropic issues with non-profit groups in Washington DC.

     Costigan, in his role as Director of Virginia's Project Exile, advised the Bush Administration in the development of its marketing and outreach component for Project Safe Neighborhoods. He continues to serve as an advisor and consultant to other states, politicians, and organizations on effective public relations strategies for reducing gun crime. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

     OJP provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed program. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.



Michael J. Costigan's bio