Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey announced last week that his office and the county police and sheriff's departments have received $272,000 in grant money from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office to combat gun crimes.
The federal prosecutor's office is also awarding $100,000 to two community-based nonprofit organizations that work in the county: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Suitland-based Reaching Objectives Through Joint Actions (ROJA). ROJA works with at-risk youths and their parents. Each group is receiving $50,000.
"It's a great opportunity for law enforcement in Prince George's County and for people who provide social services to use a two-pronged approach to address gun violence," Ivey said during a news conference last week at the University of Maryland. The university's Maryland Justice Analysis Center is examining crime data for county law enforcement agencies to help them focus their efforts.
Ivey praised the awarding of grant funds to the nonprofit groups, saying he believes there should be "a carrot as well as a stick."
"In addition to saying no to kids, we need to be able to say yes and provide alternatives," he said.
Ivey was joined at the news conference by officials from the county police and sheriff's departments, a representative for U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio and members of the nonprofit groups.
The state's attorney's office will receive $135,000, and the police and sheriff's departments will split $137,000, officials said.
Officials with the law enforcement agencies said the funds will be used to strengthen their efforts.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for Ivey, said the state's attorney's share of the money will be used to hire a veteran prosecutor and an investigator to concentrate on gun cases.
County police Maj. Darrin Palmer, commander of District III, said the department's share of the grant money will pay overtime costs for increased police patrols in areas beset by gun crimes.
County Sheriff's Capt. Al Dunivant said his department will use the money to pay overtime to teams of deputies serving warrants for suspected gun offenders.
Darius Stanton, an official with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, said his agency plans to hire Edgar I. Ramirez, a former Latino gang member who recently returned from a tour in Iraq with the Army Reserve. Ramirez is expected to reach out to teenagers in northern Prince George's, which has a large Latino population.