Cleveland uses Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction grant money

Cleveland uses Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction grant money

September 6th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in Local Regional News

Dr. Tom Biller, right, chats with Doug Bailey, a grant evaluator for Cleveland's Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction grant following a monthly meeting of grant partners Wednesday. Dr. Biller heads the Behavioral Research Institute, one of the two dozen grant partner organizations, including police and schools, targeted specific neighborhoods.

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

ABOUT THE GRANT

* Amount: $800,000

* Time: January 2011 to June 30, 2013

* Source: U.S. Department of Justice, administered by Tennessee

* Funded Cities: Cleveland, Jackson, Columbia, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Kingsport

Source: State of Tennessee

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The city's crime reduction effort in two targeted areas is beginning to show positive results, according to police and a federal grant evaluator.

Cleveland is one of six midsized Tennessee cities receiving $800,000 grants spread over three years as part of the Tennessee Targeted Community Crime Reduction program. The effort here involves about two dozen partners ranging from police and schools to youth services such as the Boys and Girls Club, the faith-based Bradley Initiative for Church and Community and adult programs through the Behavioral Research Institute.

"We got this money from the Justice Department for very specific reasons; to show how this collaborative relationship can be effective," said Doug Bailey, president of Performance Vistas, a Roswell, Ga.,-based nonprofit research firm working with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bailey evaluates all six Targeted Community programs in Tennessee.

In Cleveland, the grant funds programs that target two specific police sectors in the south and southeast parts of town.

A key component is sustainability, Bailey said.

"Hopefully we will keep this up even when the money runs out," he said.

Cleveland is ready to take part in any post-grant data gathering that may help other cities, too, City Manager Janice Casteel said. That is one possibility suggested by Bailey.

"Of course, we are still learning, too," she said.

Tennessee grant coordinator Jim Higgins, Bailey and others toured partnering agencies, including the Bradley County Juvenile Justice Department, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tyler Pride, one of two Cleveland police officers assigned to the target communities, said it is too soon to have statistics that show a positive impact. But he senses a change in community attitudes.

"They don't see us as robots who show up just to make an arrest," he said.

But "the word is getting out that we are targeting them," Pride said, which may account for some repeat offenders moving from the neighborhoods.