For Immediate Release Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Washington DC - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced $1.3 million in grants to improve 3-1-1 non-emergency phone services in three communities. Orange County, Fla. will receive $500,000; Austin, Texas will receive $381,000; and Framingham, Mass. will receive $459,000 under this grant program.
"These grants are a continuation of our efforts to provide additional technology resources to local law enforcement while improving our commitment to community government," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "The 3-1-1 system creates a non-emergency alternative to 9-1-1, allowing all calls to be handled more efficiently and increasing safety in our neighborhoods."
"Across the country, communities find that 9-1-1 is overloaded and response times are slow," said COPS Director Thomas C. Frazier. "Our research shows that 3-1-1 can reduce calls by more than 30 percent, allowing faster responses to 9-1-1 calls. It also allows helps create more discretionary time for officers so that they can engage in problem-solving and community oriented policing, rather than response-driven policing."
The public safety design of 3-1-1 focuses on creating a destination for non-emergency public safety concerns. This will free up the 9-1-1 systems to handle the life-threatening emergency calls that it was original designed to handle.
Funds awarded will go to purchasing equipment, training, technical assistance, and the creation of a lessons learned document by each agency, as well as local level process and impact evaluations.
The COPS program is the Administration's initiative to add 100,000 officers to the beat and advance community policing nation-wide. Community policing is a crime fighting strategy that encourages law enforcement to work in partnership with the community to identify and reduce crime problems.
To date, the COPS program has funded more than 109,000 officers. President Clinton has proposed continuing the COPS program for an additional five years to add up to 50,000 more officers to local communities.