Vallejo, CA – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that the Vallejo Police Department (VPD) is receiving $1 million in grants for Project HOPE. This grant, from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance’s highly competitive Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program, will be used to implement Project HOPE (Harm-focused Outreach, Prevention, and Engagement), a comprehensive framework that through strategic coordination and partnerships will deploy evidence- and community-based strategies to reduce, prevent, and suppress violent crime and gun violence in Vallejo’s hotspot neighborhoods.
“Gun violence is a scourge that affects the lives of too many Americans across our great country,” said Thompson. “As the chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I’m proud to have secured this funding for the Vallejo Police Department to reduce violence in our communities. I look forward to working with the VPD to implement Project HOPE and provide a safer and more secure future for our children.”
“We are thrilled Vallejo was selected as a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation site,” Vallejo Chief of Police Shawny K. Williams stated. “This $1 million award will help VPD's Project HOPE change the lives of our residents through proven community violence intervention and prevention strategies, accessible wraparound social services, and will help take guns and violent offenders off our streets. We look forward to continuing to work together with our partners and supporters, including Congressman Thompson, to end this epidemic of violent crime in our City.”
This funding comes after Congressman Thompson’s efforts to secure funding for the Byrne Criminal Justice program through the appropriations process.
VPD, with its partners, will offer a voluntary Youth Court Diversion Program that provides an alternative to incarceration to adolescent first-time offenders of misdemeanor or lesser crimes. This method focuses on restorative justice, peer interaction, and opportunities for youth to change their paths and discover strengths. Youth would receive alternative sentencing that provides connections to mentors and enrollment in classes to help navigate healthy life choices. VPD will also elevate services in apartment complexes located in high crime hotspot neighborhoods and create a new location at the Norman C. King Community Center. Project HOPE through its partnerships will provide referrals to services and supports to youth and families served and provide outlets for those who are victims of violence who may not otherwise seek these supports. Further, Project HOPE proposes to utilize an evidence-based hotspot policing strategy to increase VPD presence in identified hotspot areas and by sporadically patrolling and making contact with suspects, deter criminal activity and build stronger relationships with the community.
Finally, Project HOPE will implement two violence interrupting strategies: 1) street outreach; and 2) a hospital-based violence interruption program (HVIP), both to help Vallejo residents break free from the cycle of violence and receive supports that promote peaceful conflict resolution. VPD will establish a HVIP, providing gunshot victims with wraparound and follow-up services that help them break free from a life of violence and reduce their risk of re-victimization or retaliation. Services will include educational support, job training, and culturally responsive mental health services to interrupt retaliatory cycles of violence and reduce risk of re-injury.
Project HOPE street outreach workers will be trained to identify conflicts within their community and help resolve disputes before they spiral into deadly gun violence. VPD will use credible members of the community with lived experiences who are trusted by individuals at a high risk of violence. These individuals will use their credibility to interrupt cycles of retaliatory violence, help connect high risk individuals to social services, and provide alternatives to solving conflicts outside of gun violence.
Project HOPE will build a bridge between community members, law enforcement, and those that view crime and violence as their only option in life. These programs are expected to generate measurable data which will be collected and analyzed in coordination with VPD research partners. Project HOPE will advance trauma-informed strategies to reduce gun and violent crime city-wide while promoting civil rights, supporting victims, protecting the public, and building trust.