City awarded $449K grant

Published 2:20 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Will fund 3 jobs, domestic violence training for officers, advocacy

A multi-jurisdictional partnership spearheaded by the City of Andalusia and the Andalusia Police Department learned yesterday it has been awarded federal grant funding totaling $449,927 over the next three years.

Chief Paul Hudson

Chief Paul Hudson

The Office on Violence Against Women has approved the funding under its Improving Criminal Justice Responses Program.

The South Alabama Victim Services Collaborative (SAVSC) is a multi-jurisdictional collaborative partnership for in Covington and Butler counties. The group hopes to better provide for and coordinate an array of services to victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

The grant will fund enhanced training for law enforcement officers, and provide community-based and victim-centered advocates for victims.

APD Chief Paul Hudson said Wednesday night that officers receiving training for dealing with domestic violence and related issues of sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking in the Police Academy.

“Once they’re out, there’s not a lot of training,” Hudson said. “All of the participating departments will participate in training so that as a whole we can provide better services.”

Other participating departments include the Opp, Florala, Georgiana, Greenville and McKenzie police departments, as well as the sheriff’s departments in Covington and Butler counties.

Hudson said that Covington County’s smaller departments are staffed by members of the sheriff’s department, and will have access to the training through their work there.

The grant will fund a full-time program director, as well as two part-time advocates, one in Covington and another in Butler County.

Other partner agencies include YAP Adult Services a division of Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., municipal court personnel, probation officers, counselors, and referral sources for housing/shelter, employment, and food/clothing assistance.

YAP is a non-profit organization founded in1975 that provides non-residential, community-based programs in 17 states. It is widely known for the services it provides for at-risk youth, including life skill counseling, anti-gang and anti- bullying programs; anger management, budgeting, and counseling.

“We’re very pleased at the announcement of this award,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “This funding opens the opportunity to increase services to the victims of these types of violent crimes and provide increased training to law enforcement in Covington and Butler counties.”