As Congress decides next year’s budget, it seems clear that federal anticrime aid to states and localities will be cut significantly. The Las Vegas Sun took at look at how this will affect Nevada. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, now called JAG, provided $4.3 million to the state in fiscal year 2003, but that figure likely will drop to $1.5 million next year, says Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Money may disappear for programs that take aim at gun violence in neighborhoods, help women victims of violence, and treat prisoners who have drug addictions, said state administrator Sandra Mazy said.
“It’s all being funneled to homeland security,” Mazy said. “I don’t see how they can spend all they money they are getting. Obviously, it (homeland security) is necessary. But why so much? We’ve still got internal (crime) problems.” Said U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance spokeswoman Sheila Jerusalem: “With our new emphasis on combatting terrorism, it’s just a matter of priorities.” Senator Reid believes that Justice Department programs should not be slashed to pay for homeland security. The JAG money has been extremely useful to Las Vegas police because it was funneled to street-level programs, Metro Capt. Gary Schofield said. “Overall, it’s been a great program because the money was not going for fluff stuff,” he said.