Sappey, Comitta Announce $830,000 for Public Safety, Crime Prevention and Victims’ Services Programs

WEST CHESTER (December 9, 2021) – Important programs to prevent crime, support community policing efforts, assist victims in recovery, and enhance mental health services in Chester County will receive more than $830,000 in state and federal grant support, state Rep. Christina Sappey and state Senator Carolyn Comitta said today.

Sappey said the grants would help Chester County continue to implement the latest public safety strategies and best practices while ensuring compliance with necessary standards and regulations.

“The PCCD grants that Chester County received will provide essential funding for programs serving the most vulnerable and working to keep our communities safe,” said Sappey.  “I’m proud to see investments that will prevent crime, help victims of domestic violence and child abuse, update law enforcement policies and support crisis intervention services to better address our county’s needs.”

Comitta, who previously served as Mayor of the Borough of West Chester, overseeing the West Chester Police Department, said the investments would support initiatives that aim to more efficiently and effectively manage public safety and address mental health needs.

“These investments help prevent crime, support victims, and reduce recidivism through a data-driven approach and better understanding of mental health and community needs,” she said. “Our county and local law enforcements agencies continue to be public safety leaders by utilizing these important resources to launch and maintain proven, innovative, and highly successful programs.”

Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan also welcomed the funding.

“These funds play a key role in protecting children, communities, and families in Chester County by giving our police, detectives, and law enforcement professionals the tools and resources they need to prevent crime, support victims, and focus their efforts and attention,” she said.

The grants, which were recently approved by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), fall into several categories. They are:

  • $374,951 for the Chester County Commissioners through the STOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Established in 1994, the STOP VAWA Program seeks to develop and implement law enforcement and prosecution strategies to effectively decrease violent crimes against women. These grant funds also help to develop and enhance services provided to the victims of violent crimes, including emergency housing, supportive counseling, transportation assistance and more.

  • $150,000 for the Chester County Commissioners through PCCD Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee (MHJAC) Funds. The funds will be used to develop a pilot program with a mental health assessor to assist Magisterial District Court Judges in diverting individuals with mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and/or autism spectrum disorders from the county prison and connecting them with comprehensive and appropriate diversion and treatment services.  
  • $104,911 for the Chester County Commissioners in federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds. The funding will continue to support a fulltime Pre-Trial Program Resource Navigator position. The Pre-Trial Program Resource Navigator engages justice-involved individuals on pre-trial and or probation/parole supervision by assisting them in scheduling and attending Court-Reporting Network Evaluations, Alcohol Safe Driving School, Drug and Alcohol Evaluations, and any other Court-ordered conditions. By continuing this program, Chester County hopes to effectively provide support for services and programs to adult offenders and reduce court delays and recidivism.

  • $47,000 for Chester County District Attorney in PCCD Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Committee funds. The funding will support increased efficiency in handling child abuse reports submitted through ChildLine by continuing to employ an Administrative Assistant responsible for the processing of all ChildLine reports, including entering them into various record-keeping systems. Designating a professional to handle reporting requirements allows cases to be processed in a more timely and efficient manner and ensures detailed records are maintained. In addition, it also allows the detectives assigned to the CAC to focus on interviewing victims and investigating child abuse cases.  
  • $40,330 for the Chester County District Attorney in federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds for a Policy Development Project for the Chester County Detectives. The funds will be used to create a comprehensive policy directive manual that is based on accepted best police practices and are compliant with current federal, state, and local statutes. This project aims to create an online platform to manage and update policies and procedures, revise current policies and write new policies to incorporate up-to-date industry standards and best practices, provide daily scenario-based training that reinforces the agency’s policies, and track acknowledgements of policy and training.

  • $57,422 for the Oxford Police Department federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds to support obtaining accreditation through the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. The project aims to integrate software tools and technologies required to secure accreditation and to facilitate transparency and information sharing, and to ensure best practices. Accreditation will provide a critical framework for Oxford’s continued effort to enact community-oriented strategies to solve problems and ensure consistency and accountability.

  • $58,726 for Phoenixville Borough federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds to expand the business district area cameras located on Bridge Street. This project will complete the goal of having the capability to review video of crimes that occur in heart of the community in order to protect citizens and all of those who come within the jurisdiction. Augmenting the existing camera system will provide law enforcement with an unbiased view of what occurred during the commission of a crime.