Today, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell applauded the announcement of $2 million in federal funding to support a new initiative his office is launching to reduce violent drug, gang and gun activity in the region. This funding is part of a fiscal year 2022 appropriations package secured by U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08).
The $2 million Community Projecting Funding for the Lackawanna County Gang and Gun Reduction and Intelligence Project (GGRIP) was announced this afternoon at a press conference at the Lackawanna County Courthouse that included District Attorney Powell, Scranton Police Chief Tom Carroll, State Police Captain Peter Gutkowski and Congressman Cartwright.
According to Powell, GGRIP will specifically target gang, drug and illegal gun activity by enhancing law enforcement’s ability to share intelligence and successfully prosecute violent offenders.
“Gangs have become increasingly sophisticated, and our law enforcement agencies are in dire need of this federal assistance to stay one step ahead of them, investigate and interrupt their networks and put these bad actors behind bars," Powell said. “This funding will go a long way when it comes to keeping our community – and our officers – safe.”
The overall goal of the GGRIP initiative, Powell explained, is to enhance public safety through aggressive investigation and suppression of violent gang activity and successful prosecution of criminals through a collaborative, multi-jurisdictional, community-involved approach.
Specifically, funding for the GGRIP initiative will be used to:
- Identify, disrupt and prosecute individuals involved in gang and illegal gun activity through aggressive investigation, patrol and interdiction efforts.
- Act as a hub for intelligence analysis between law enforcement agencies to foster cooperation.
- Offer gang, drug and illegal gun training to law enforcement partners.
- Allow for more effective electronic surveillance monitoring of violent offenders and provide technical support services to law enforcement agencies throughout Lackawanna County.
- Provide interview, interrogation and polygraph support to law enforcement partners.
- Support community-based educational programs and targeted outreach to prevent gang affiliations.
“Our officers and law enforcement officials deserve to be equipped with the best resources, the best technology and the best colleagues geared for the job at hand,” Cartwright said.
“The funding we’re announcing today will help our blue line operate at the highest level.”