Grants to help community policing efforts

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RICHMOND, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The Albemarle County Police Department is one of three dozen law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth getting a community policing grant.

It's part of Governor Terry McAuliffe's Policing the the 21st Century Initiative.

The grants support training and equipment to enhance the agencies' community-inclusive policing efforts.

The money for the grants comes from federal funds awarded to Virginia by the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

"Since the beginning of my administration, my team and I have worked closely with local and state law enforcement agencies to develop strategies that build and strengthen their relationships within the communities they serve," said McAuliffe. "Strong police-community relationships are essential to protecting the safety of families and businesses in every community in our Commonwealth."

Back in August and September, there were four Law Enforcement and Community listening sessions, which drew more than 300 people from various law enforcement and community groups.

Ideas that communities could initiate with grant funding were pitched and then selected for funding.

Some of those community efforts include one-on-one and small group mentoring for youths and their families; training for law enforcement officers in de-escalation and crisis communication strategies; equipment for a police department athletic program intended for at-risk youth; a community collaboration effort to reduce crime between law enforcement, public schools, social services, the Commonwealth's Attorney and nonprofits; and a public school-based youth outreach program to promote positive relationships with law enforcement.

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