University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
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UIC GETS $1.4 MILLION TO AID COMMUNITY POLICING
Award targets anti-violence programs
The Institute for Public Safety Partnerships at the University of Illinois at Chicago will receive $1.4 million in federal funding to expand community-policing training programs throughout Illinois.
The money is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's $24 million fund for regional community-policing institutes across the country, and $12.5 million fund to combat domestic violence, both coordinated by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
"This award from the COPS Office ensures that local communities in Illinois will continue to receive innovative training and assistance to support community policing," says James R. "Chip" Coldren, Jr., director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice, which houses the Institute for Public Safety Partnerships at UIC.
The largest portion of UIC's award, $910,000, will be used to finance ongoing community-policing programs, and to fight and prevent crime in selected communities that currently do not have programs. An additional $500,000 will be used to finance new community-policing training related to domestic violence.
"Community policing is one of our strongest weapons against crime and violence," says Mary Lou Leary, acting director of the COPS Office. "These grants will help institutionalize community policing for the next century, and allow law enforcement agencies to use community policing strategies to combat domestic violence."
This is the third year UIC has received funding from the COPS program. The institute plans to deliver community-policing training to 10-12 new communities with this year's award.
"With new funding, the institute will embark on two new training initiatives - adding integrity training and domestic violence training to community-policing curricula," Coldren says. "We'll work hard to give communities the materials and skills they need to tackle problems on their own."
Coldren points out that when a community accepts general responsibility for itself, the quality of life improves, and the community has a better chance of solving bigger problems.
"Big problems are linked to little problems," he says. "No matter whether the problems are schools, gangs, homicides, or sexual assaults - most people understand that these begin with other problems."
The Department of Justice defines community policing as a strategy that builds on policing practices with an emphasis on crime prevention and lasting solutions to problems. Police officers and sheriffs' deputies, as public servants, interact with citizens on a daily basis to stress the importance of citizen involvement in the community.
According to Coldren, community policing is "a philosophy about who is really responsible for public safety.
"When you get a group of people in the same room who have a serious interest in improving the quality of life in their community, you will come up with a list of solvable problems.
"There's a general understanding in people's minds that the police cannot solve everyone's problems. And when neighbors come together and take action, the quality of life in their neighborhoods will increase."
Created in 1994, the COPS program is the Clinton/Gore Administration's initiative to advance community policing and add 100,000 officers to the street. To date, the COPS program has awarded $6 billion in grants to 11,300 law enforcement agencies.
Established in 1997, The Institute of Public Safety Partnerships at UIC is one of 28 regional community-policing institutes funded by the COPS program. Since its inception, the institute has worked with 18 communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, providing proven education, training and guidance in community-oriented policing principles and approaches to law enforcement throughout the communities it serves.
The institute partnership includes representatives from the community and a number of police and sheriff departments in Illinois. For more detailed information on the Institute for Public Safety Partnerships at UIC, visit the web site at http://www.acsp.uic.edu/~ipsp/
With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of the 88 leading research universities in the country. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.
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