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Department of Public Safety gets more than half of Colorado's $71M in federal grants

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – The Colorado Department of Public Safety will receive more than half of the $71 million allocated to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice for programs and services.

The Department of Public Safety will receive $37.6 million from four grants. The largest will be $23.4 million for enhancing services to victims of crime in Colorado. Funds from the federal Victims of Crime Act are typically awarded to community-based organizations providing direct services to crime victims, according to a description of the award on the Department of Justice’s website.

The Department of Public Safety received $5.8 million for victims compensation to eligible crime victims. It also received a grant for residential substance abuse treatment for state prisoners ($648,212).

A grant of $374,718 was awarded to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to improve forensic services and reduce the backlog of cases due in part to the opioid and synthetic drug crisis, according to the award description. The Colorado Department of Corrections will receive $85,050 for efforts to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Colorado received 71 of the 3,700 awards given by the Justice Department. A total of more than $4.4 billion was awarded to increase the ability of communities to reduce violence, assist victims and youth and work to achieve fair outcomes through evidence-based criminal and juvenile justice programs.

The U.S. Center for Safe Sport, a nonprofit organization based in Denver and created by the federal “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017,” received $2.3 million, the largest non-government allocation. The organization was created by federal law to have jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic Committee, national governing bodies of sports and paralympic sports organizations to safeguard amateur athletes from abuse.

The organization is developing “… new policies, educational offerings, technical assistance, increased communication strategies and partnerships with child abuse experts, advocacy organizations, coaches, administrators, parents and others,” according to the award description. It also plans to expand its education and training programs into local sports clubs and affiliates.

The Colorado Board of Education received a $1.9 million grant for a program to prevent school violence. The program includes training for 750 educators, mental health professionals and school resource officers throughout the state.

“Fifteen safety teams representing 75 schools will receive intensive training, coaching and implementation support, including engaging in a community of practice that will lead to more effective safety plans,” the award description stated. The grant also will be used by the Colorado Department of Education to create free online modules focusing on violence prevention, positive school climate and safety issues.