“At the scale that we’re operating now in terms of the kind of violence we’re seeing play out in our communities again it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant,” Andrew Woods, director of Hartford Communities That Care and the CT Violence Intervention Program said.
Soon $5 million will go to Connecticut communities that Woods help on a daily basis.
“It’s not all about law and order. It’s about what our population has been through,” Governor Ned Lamont said.
Lamont announced the funding Monday for Connecticut towns and cities seeing an increase in gun violence, auto thefts and drug overdoses. Community outreach will be top priority for the funding, expanding to neighborhoods and hospitals to help reduce conflict and retaliation.
“The epidemic is upon us once again, the epidemic is those folks that are shot and unfairly and murdered by handguns,” Commissioner James Rovella of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said.
Rovella says the critical funding will also provide for new real-time data centers that will include a 24/7 National Integrated Ballistics Information Network system both at the state forensic lab in Meriden and a mobile kiosk that will provide law enforcement faster analysis of bullet casings from a firearm. The dollars would also go to new rapid DNA kiosk in both Meriden and Waterbury.
“Violent crime testing can occur in a rapid and almost a three-hour timeframe if it comes back to a sole-source,” Rovella said.
The money would also go to funding the medical examiner’s office to determine what drugs are causing overdoses, as well as critical task forces and deployed specialized officers.
Woods says while the funding is much needed, the work to address gun violence and crime prevention will need attention for prevention after the bullets stop flying.
“This is an issue that needs to be wrapped up and needs to be stacked up to the levels that made the need,” Woods said.