News Releases

(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she included $1.45 million to support law enforcement efforts in Pierce County in the Fiscal Year 2011 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill that was approved today by the Senate Appropriations CJS Subcommittee. The bill contains $1.25 million to improve communication at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and $200,000 for the Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership.

“These investments give Pierce County law enforcement officials the tools they need to protect our families from gang violence and make our communities safer,” said Senator Murray. “This funding will also help create opportunities for at-risk youth to succeed so that they can stay off the streets and out of the criminal justice system.”

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Communications Improvements – $1.25 million

Currently, Pierce County has several disparate radio systems which do not allow easy interoperability.  There is a need for improved operable communications and interoperable communications in Pierce County which will take advantage of new technology.

This funding will support Pierce County law enforcement and fire agencies as they move toward developing a true regional interoperable communications system and consolidated 911 dispatch centers. The project will also fit into the Washington State Emergency Interoperability Communication (SIEC) Plan and within the Puget Sound Emergency Interoperability Communication (PSEIC) Plan.

“First responders must be able to efficiently communicate during times of critical incidents to ensure the lives of our citizens and protection of our first responders,” said Sheriff Paul A. Pastor. “We are very appreciative of Senator Murray’s commitment to seeing our men and women in uniform have the tools they need to keep people safe.”

Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership – $200,000

The Pierce County Regional Gang Prevention Partnership brings together a team of prevention specialists, police, prosecutors, schools, and health- and community-based organizations to work collaboratively throughout the region.  Using their combined expertise, they identify services that can help youth and families who are impacted by drugs, violence and gang-related issues.

Gang-related violence has been a growing problem in Washington state in recent years, and with local budgets now facing large cuts, law enforcement agencies are expressing concern that it may become even more difficult for them to fight this emerging source of crime. The 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment indicates increased gang activity in the Pacific Northwest and reports that in some communities, gangs are responsible for as much as eighty percent of all violent crime.

“The regional partnership for gang prevention is a powerful alliance that builds networks so our youth can truly have a chance for healthy and safe lifestyles.  I believe we, as community members and workers, are called to do everything we can to create a sense of hope – giving our youth the possibility for a healthy, safe and happy future.  That means we must stay committed to working together and to build sustainable programs for futures with hope rather than despair.  This funding, so generously supported by our congressional delegation, gives us resources to work together collaboratively and provide critical services to gang impacted youth and families thereby creating positive futures for hundreds of youth,” said Priscilla A. Lisicich, Executive Director of the Safe Streets Campaign.

Last year, Senator Murray helped introduce major legislation that would provide more than $1 billion for gang prevention across the nation.