Navajo Nation awarded over $2 million in justice grants

$118.4 million given out across country

The Navajo Nation has been awarded a total of $2,087,145 by the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Coordinated Tribal Application Solicitation (CTAS) to fund tribal court programs, law enforcement and justice efforts, and support youth and adult alcohol and substance abuse prevention programming.

The USDOJ announced $118.4 million in grant funding to nearly 150 American Indian and Alaskan Native nations on Sept. 14, including the Navajo Nation awards. There were eight USDOJ tribal government-specific competitive grant programs referred to as "purpose areas" that each tribe or tribal consortium could apply for including public safety and community policing; methamphetamine enforcement; justice systems and alcohol and substance abuse; corrections and correctional alternatives; violence against women; elder abuse; juvenile justice; and tribal youth programs.

Four grants were awarded to the Navajo Nation.

Aneth and To'Hajiilee/Alamo Judicial Districts were awarded $498,298 for community courts projects under the Tribal Court Assistance Program. The funds will enable Aneth to hire a resource coordinator for its community court pilot project for three years and for To'Haijilee/Alamo to hire a care coordinator for its wellness court project for three years. The funds will also cover employee travel, supplies, and steering committee meeting expenses as well as provide for the hiring of an evaluator consultant for the three-year period.

The To'Hajiilee/Alamo Judicial District and the Navajo Nation Integrated Justice Information Sharing Project - a project initiated by the Judicial Branch - also were awarded $498,366 under the Tribal Youth Program purpose area. The grant money will be used to fund new hires for a Teen Court in that district, develop Teen Courts and substance abuse prevention programs in the other districts, enable remote teleconferencing, and implement a communications portal, which will enable data to be shared between schools, the court and participating service providers and agencies without requiring the participants to abandon their current database systems and which can be sustained at low cost.

Next, $900,309 was awarded under a COPS grant for equipment, training, and new hires and is to be shared between law enforcement, information management, Division of Natural Resources rangers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The funding has been designated for criminal investigator and law enforcement training, a Metamorpho Livescan System, information technology equipment for the seven police districts, technology upgrades and police district equipment for law enforcement and Information Management. The grant will enable the DNR to hire two new rangers for remote parks policing in the Western and Eastern Agencies and provide equipment and supplies for them. The EPA's share of the funding will go toward training, vehicles and replacement uniforms, firearms and equipment.

Finally, the Navajo Nation was awarded $190,172 for its efforts to combat methamphetamine abuse. Funds are expected to cover training, supply items for day-to-day operations of all Navajo Police Drug and Gang Enforcement officers, and provide for officer overtime, meth kits and vehicle insurance.

The Coordinated Tribal Application Solicitation is a new grant application process instituted by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 that does away with the single grant application method and requires tribes to submit all their grant funding needs in a consolidated problem statement, application and budget. The method is so new that the Navajo Nation does not have a coordinator in place to bring together the different programs for a joint effort.

Without a permanent coordinator for the process, the Judicial Branch took the initiative to develop an inter-agency team to apply for each purpose area to ensure a strategic and comprehensive approach to address public safety, criminal and juvenile justice and victimization issues. The team submitted a timely and completed application in compliance with requirements by the USDOJ.

Participating agencies included Division of Public Safety programs, Judicial Branch programs, Office of the Chief Prosecutor, Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Enforcement, Department of Resource Enforcement, Office of Navajo Women and Families, and Department of Information Technology. Various agencies and organizations also submitted letters of support for the Navajo Nation's efforts.

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