Media Center


Letter Urges Congressional Delegation to Support Bipartisan Initiative to Restore Byrne Funding


MADISON -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has sent a letter to Wisconsin's Congressional Delegation in support of bipartisan efforts under way to restore a key source of federal funds that are crucial to Wisconsin's crime fighting efforts.


In the federal budget for FFY2008, funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne/JAG) was reduced by 67%. "This reduction will result in significant funding cuts to numerous, established law enforcement programs across the country," said Van Hollen. "Here in Wisconsin, the scenario is no different."


"Byrne funds allow state and local law enforcement to fund a broad range of initiatives to prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system," said Van Hollen.


In Wisconsin Byrne funding supports various crime fighting and justice initiatives. These include:


  • support for the state's 19 Multijurisdictional Enforcement Groups (MEG units), which are collaborative, multi-agency investigative units that focus mainly on drug crime and often cover rural counties without resources to maintain individual, comprehensive drug units;
  • funding for criminal prosecutors throughout Wisconsin (The Wisconsin District Attorneys Association projects that with the federal funding cuts, the state will lose another 21 state prosecutors, primarily located in the state's highest crime areas);
  • funds to supplement county costs for crime victim and witness services.


"I strongly believe that these federal resources are being used effectively and efficiently by numerous Wisconsin law enforcement agencies to prevent crime and provide justice for all," said Van Hollen. "I am urging the members of Wisconsin's Congressional Delegation to support and implement a bipartisan funding increase for the Byrne program."