WASHINGTON -- An amendment offered by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., was successfully included today in the annual funding bill of the Departments of Commerce, Justice and Science that would help provide important federal grants for law enforcement officers.

Chambliss' measure, which is coauthored by Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., would increase funds to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, which is designed to provide funding support for a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system.

The amendment is supported by the National Association of Police Officers (NAPO), National Sheriffs Association (NSA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Fraternal Order of Police and the National Narcotics Officers Associations Coalition. Specifically, the amendment would restore $275 million to the JAG program.

"Over the past four years, funding for our federal law enforcement grant programs has been reduced significantly," said Chambliss. "This is all despite the fact that state and local law enforcement have needed to provide for increased homeland security costs, and additional funds to fight the methamphetamine scourge that has grown in rural and urban communities across Georgia. This amendment will help Georgia's local law enforcement officials continue their outstanding efforts to make our citizens and communities safe and secure."

Several Georgia sheriffs, including Sheriff Al Whittington of Colquitt County, Sheriff Terry Smith of Washington County, Sheriff Jerry Modena of Bibb County and Sheriff Neil Warren of Cobb County said Chambliss' measure is much needed to help them carry out their important jobs.

"I'd like to thank Senator Chambliss for offering this amendment. These grants are a vital part of operations each year in our school resource programs, road patrol and jail equipment. These funds also assist our agency in acquiring necessary equipment and manpower where otherwise it might be impossible to do so," Whittington said.

"These important law enforcement grants help us do our jobs to fight crime in our communities and keep the public safe. We totally depend on these grants," said Sheriff Thomas Smith of Washington County.

"Federal grant funding has been instrumental in allowing us to make much needed improvements in our courthouse security. These funds are very much needed by all Local Law Enforcement Agencies," said Sheriff Neil Warren of Cobb County.

"It is well known that most serious crimes such as burglary and assault have their roots in the use of illegal drugs. These grants have been essential in our efforts to stem the drug trade in our community. Without them, we lose ground in 'the war on drugs.' We applaud Senator Chambliss in his efforts to re-establish funding for these crucial grant sources for local law enforcement," said Sheriff Jerry Modena of Bibb County.

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