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Chautauqua accepts ‘Stop Violence Againsat Women’ grant

MAYVILLE – A “Stop Violence Against Women” grant was announced Wednesday by the Chautauqua County Public Safety Committee.

Committee members accepted $200,250 in federal funding. The money will be used to pay for a special prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, a part-time deputy sheriff and services of a Spanish language interpreter.  The committee will send the item to the full legislature for final approval. 

District Attorney David Foley spoke on behalf of the grant application.  He said it was a first-time grant for his office. The funding is divided over three years and requires tracking and reporting to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the DA said. 

“It is a good opportunity for us to focus in on these issues and we are excited to receive this funding,” Foley said. 

Another grant from the Office of Homeland Security was also before the committee. The members approved a Public Safety Answering Point grant of $89,253.  Sheriff Joseph Gerace spoke on the grant and said it is an opportunity to help pay for equipment and maintenance expenses. 

The sheriff also spoke about a Homeland Security grant under the Operation Stone Garden border security program.  The grant is for $54,991.  

The committee approved both homeland grant funding programs and will support them when they go to the full legislature.

Gerace asked the members to support a new committee to look at alternatives to incarceration. He said that at one point in the last year he had 30 more inmates than space available.  He said the committee would look at fostering better communication among criminal justice agencies, local government and the education system to reduce recidivism.  

“There are almost 300 incarcerated right now and a majority of them are repeat offenders,” he said. He said another addition may be required at the jail  if the number of inmates is not decreased. In 2007, a remodel added about 100 beds to the facility.

“Today we are within a few beds of maximum space capacity,” the sheriff added. The new committee would be called the County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.  

Members of the committee supported the new council and will back a resolution on the next agenda for the full legislature. Legislator Paul Whitford, D-Jamestown, suggested that the Jamestown City Council members be asked also to back the new council. 

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