News Releases

Murray Announces Major Victory for Northern Border Law Enforcement

Jun 18 2009

Department of Justice action allows Washington state law enforcement agencies to access new federal grants

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that after years of work creating the program, the Department of Justice has today released a solicitation for Northern Border Prosecution Initiative (NBPI) grants. This move allows law enforcement agencies in Washington state and along the entire northern border to apply for federal funding to offset costs they incur prosecuting border-related cases. 

"Our northern border communities are being crushed by the costs of policing and prosecuting border-related crimes," said Senator Patty Murray. "Border crimes are federal crimes, and this decision by the DOJ provides the support we owe northern border communities and will help pay for the jail costs, prosecutors and judges they need to prosecute these crimes. This will also provide funding to prosecute fugitives and thwart drug trafficking."

Southern border communities have had access to similar grants for years, and Senator Murray has been outspoken about this inequity. In March, she sent a letter to Attorney General Holder urging him to make funding available quickly to northern border communities.

Earlier this year, Senator Murray announced that she secured $3 million for the NBPI, which can finally begin to be distributed to Washington state law enforcement agencies and other communities along the northern border.

The NBPI helps local communities pay for judicial, penal, and enforcement expenses that result from federal border-related crime, such as captured international fugitives and international drug trafficking. When the U.S. Department of Justice declines to prosecute these federal border-related crimes, that burden often falls on Northern Border communities to prosecute them under state law.  Whatcom County, for instance, estimates that it spends approximately $1-2 million from its general fund every year towards processing border-related criminal cases.

The funding in the initiative is distributed by a formula payment based on the number of days from the time that the U.S. Attorney’s office declines to take a case until the day that the county/city resolves the case.  The Northern Border Prosecutor Initiative pays for jail costs, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.