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The Rio Grande Valley will receive more than $10 million in state funding for key public safety initiatives, announces Rep. Canales - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Featured: The Rio Grande Valley will receive more than $10 million in state funding for public safety initiatives, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. “These grants for deep South Texas will help pay for a dozen vital categories of programs, such as protecting victims of family violence, strengthening homeland security, improving the criminal justice system, and fighting human trafficking and illegal drug trafficking,” said Canales. “This list of state funding also shows the partnership between Texas and our local communities, through our dedicated men and women in those vital professions who have made it their life’s mission to keep us safe, and defend us from evil.” This image was taken on Thursday, February 6, 2020 during the ribbon-cutting event of the La Homa Road and FM 681 expansion project in Mission.

Photograph By ALMA URIBE

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The Rio Grande Valley will receive more than $10 million in state funding for key public safety initiatives, including protecting victims of family violence, strengthening homeland security, and fighting human trafficking and illegal drug trafficking, announces Rep. Terry Canales

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
[email protected]

The Rio Grande Valley will receive more than $10 million in state funding for public safety initiatives, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced.

The money is routed through the Texas Governor’s Public Safety Office (PSO), which will administer more than $296 million in grant funding throughout Texas for a variety of programs and services to support a broad range of public safety initiatives. This Public Safety Office grant funding is made possible through a combination of federal and state dollars.

Canales, who also serves as Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, noted that portions of an additional $4.4 million for statewide transportation programs will be used in the Rio Grande Valley, a metropolitan region of an estimated 1.4 million residents. 

These grants for deep South Texas will help pay for a dozen vital categories of programs, such as protecting victims of family violence, strengthening homeland security, improving the criminal justice system, and fighting human trafficking and illegal drug trafficking,” said Canales. “This list of state funding also shows the partnership between Texas and our local communities, through our dedicated men and women in those vital professions who have made it their life’s mission to keep us safe, and defend us from evil.”

Funding amounts for Valley projects ranged from $2,000 for the Local Border Security Program at La Villa to $1 million for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council COG?21 Interoperable Communications Infrastructure. 

Twenty-four of the more than 120 grants each were valued at $100,000 or higher.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of Texans, and this grant funding will strengthen our efforts to prevent and combat crime while also supporting victims and survivors,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “Protecting public safety requires a comprehensive approach, and each of these recipients play an essential role in keeping our communities safe. Texas thanks the hundreds of award recipients for serving their fellow Texans and for working to build a safer and stronger Texas.”

The Governor’s Public Safety Office administers numerous state and federal grant programs in coordination with state-level and regional partner agencies including the 24 regional Councils of Governments (COGs) in Texas and the Urban Area Working Groups (UAWGs) in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston, and San Antonio. 

Entities interested in seeking funds to support their public safety initiatives during the next grant cycle (FY 2022) should reach out to their local COG to learn about region specific timelines and requirements.  The PSO posts funding opportunity announcements containing program purposes, a description of allowable activities, timelines, and other requirements on the Office of the Governor’s eGrants website.

The grants recently released include, but are not limited to, funding for the following:

Addressing Violence Against Women: 

87 awards statewide totaling $11.9 million for projects that provide training opportunities, legal advocacy, investigation and technology resources, and protective order assistance to victims of violent crimes.

The total funding for Addressing Violence Against Women in the Rio Grande Valley is $313,397.51, which is divided accordingly:

$139,219.57  • Cameron County, Domestic Violence Unit
$79,230.98  • Hidalgo County, Domestic Violence Specialty Prosecutor
$69,036.32 • Willacy County, Domestic Violence Unit
$25,910.64 • Rio Grande City, RGCPD Crimes Against Women Detective Project   

Bullet Resistant Vests:

58 awards statewide totaling $4.7 million to provide peace officers with rifle-resistant body armor to prevent loss of life during tactical and emergency response operations.

The total funding for Bullet Resistant Vests statewide and in the Rio Grande Valley is $1,383,746.65, which is divided accordingly:

$1,340,000 • Texas Department of Public Safety, Rifle Resistant Body Armor
$15,420 • Mercedes, Rifle Resistant Body Armor
$10,800 • San Juan, Rifle Resistant Body Armor
$10,576.65 • Brownsville ISD, Rifle Resistant Body Armor
$3,750 • Peñitas, Rifle Resistant Body Armor
$3,200 • Edcouch, Rifle Resistant Body Armor 

Homeland Security:

412 statewide awards totaling $61.6 million to help prevent terrorism and prepare for the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to the security of Texas and its citizens. These projects fund equipment, planning, training, exercises and other activities for local, regional, and state-level agencies and strengthen core capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal.

The total funding for Homeland Security statewide and in the Rio Grande Valley is $2,662,250.78, which is divided accordingly:

$513,000 • Texas DPS ?Satellite Data Services 2021
$404,216.16 • Texas DPS/Office of Homeland Security
$290,799.68 • Texas DPS ? Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network
$225,000 • Texas DPS ? Accurint Subscription
$182,636.04 • Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council Regional Planning Staff
$151,122.58 • Texas DPS Law Enforcement and Civilian Response to Terrorism Attack Training
$104,730.17 • Texas DPS Texas Fusion Center Knowledge Wall Upgrade
$91,155.37 • MRGDC, Operational Sustainment of Regional Trunked Radio System
$71,500 • Edinburg, Cybersecurity Project
$69,000 • Rio Grande Council of Governments RGCOG Local & Regional & State Emergency Preparedness & Homeland
$50,000 • Mission, Regional Response Mission Fire
$53,250 • Donna, Police SHSP Project
$50,174.37 • Middle Rio Grande Development Council Regional Planning Activities
$45,380 • Brownsville, BFD Dive and Rescue Team Communications
$45,109.28 • Harlingen, HPD SWAT Helmet Upgrade
$37,398.55 • Brownsville Fire Department Operational Radios
$35,000 • Mission, SWAT Equipment Grant Project
$34,882.67 • Weslaco, Cybersecurity
$32,500 • McAllen/Rio Grande Valley Public Works Emergency Response Team
$31,743.84 • LRGVDC and Fire Alliance Regional Training Academy
$28,750 • Harlingen, Regional HazMat UTV Transport Vehicle
$28,028.90 • Brownsville, OEM Light Towers
$25,647.21 • San Juan, LEERRT 2021
$20,000 • Mission, Message Board
$16,662 • Progreso, Radios
$10,000 • Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Active Shooter Response Project
$6,033.96 • Cameron County Emergency Management Deployable Drone (SHSP)
$4,280.00 • Mission, Fire Hazmat Identification Project
$4,250.00 • Weslaco, Radio Purchase 

Human Trafficking:

54 awards statewide totaling $19.4 million for short and long-term residential services, advocacy, and case management for survivors of human trafficking in Texas.

$42,000 • Pharr, Human Trafficking Liaison 

Justice Assistance:

215 awards statewide totaling $13.5 million to promote public safety, reduce crime, and improve the criminal justice system. Projects funded support personnel, equipment, supplies, training, technical assistance, and information systems for criminal justice purposes.

The total funding for Justice Assistance in the Rio Grande Valley is $758,642.34, which is divided accordingly:

$143,480.24 • Hidalgo County Domestic Violence Court
$90,134.00 • La Joya, Technology & Body Armor Upgrade
$85,686.95 • Hidalgo County Domestic Violence Unit
$56,952.61 • Raymondville, Drug Enforcement Investigator
$53,300 • Raymondville, Firing Range Equipment Project
$45,438.73 • Weslaco, Criminal Justice Program
$45,031 • Sullivan City, Police Equipment Project
$39,420 • Alamo, Communication Enhancement Grant
$30,056.34 • Edcouch, Interdiction Officer
$24,749.72 • Cameron County, Direct File Case System
$26,232.55 • La Grulla, Light Tower
$26,232.55 • Rio Grande City, Drug/Human Trafficking Prevention
$26,232.55 • Roma, Technology Upgrade
$26,232.55 • Starr County, 229th Judicial District Tri-County Violent Crime Unit
$26,232.55 • Starr County, County Attorney Investigator
$13,230 • Peñitas, Portable Radios 

Juvenile Justice and Truancy Prevention:

108 awards statewide totaling $10.6 million to prevent violence in and around schools and to improve the juvenile justice system by providing mental health services, truancy prevention, and intervention through community-based and school programs.

The total funding for Juvenile Justice and Truancy Prevention in the Rio Grande Valley is $567,814.08, which is divided accordingly:

$133,065.11 • Boys & Girls Club of Pharr, H2O
$77,382.97 • Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas Inc Juvenile Delinquency Prevention
$57,847.55 • Weslaco, First Offender Program
$53,707.23 • Starr County School Resource Officer
$51,500 • Raymondville ISD Truancy Project
$48,822 • Cameron County Community-Based Treatment Services
$43,172.40 • La Grulla, School Resource Officer
$42,700 • Starr County Juvenile Intervention Services Program
$33,131.28 • Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas Inc Delinquency Prevention
$26,485.54 • Cameron County Juvenile Justice Alternatives 

Local Border Security (Border Star): 

94 awards statewide totaling $5.3 million to provide for overtime and operating costs that support an increased law enforcement presence to detect, deter, and disrupt drug, human, and other trafficking along the Texas/Mexico border.

The total funding for Local Border Security (Border Star) in the Rio Grande Valley is $2,663,290, which is divided accordingly:

$233,000 • Hidalgo County, Local Border Security Program-Sheriff’s Office
$200,000 • Starr County, Local Border Security Program-Sheriff’s Office
$186,000 • Pharr, Local Border Security Program
$185,000 • Brownsville, Local Border Security Program
$185,000 • Edinburg, Local Border Security Program
$185,000 • Mission, Local Border Security Program
$100,000 • Rio Grande City, Local Border Security Program
$100,000 • Roma, Local Border Security Program
$95,000 • Hidalgo County, Local Border Security Program, Constable PCT3
$95,000 • Weslaco, Local Border Security Program
$89,790 • Hidalgo, Local Border Security Program
$85,000 • San Juan, Local Border Security Program
$77,500 • Peñitas, Local Border Security Program
$77,000 • Laguna Vista, Local Border Security Program
$73,000 • Hidalgo County, Local Border Security Program, Constable PCT4
$60,000 • Harlingen, Local Border Security Program
$60,000 • Cameron County, Local Border Security Program-Sheriff’s Office
$55,000 • La Joya, Local Border Security Program
$53,000 • Starr County, Local Border Security Program-Border Interdiction Unit
$52,500 • South Padre Island, Local Border Security Program
$50,000 • Donna, Local Border Security Program
$50,000 • Starr County. Local Border Security Program-DA’s Office
$35,000 • Hidalgo County, Local Border Security Program, Constable PCT1
$35,000 • Hidalgo County, Local Border Security Program, Constable PCT2
$30,000 • Alamo, Local Border Security Program
$30,000 • McAllen, Local Border Security Program
$30,000 • Mercedes, Local Border Security Program
$25,000 • Los Fresnos, Local Border Security Program
$21,000 • Elsa, Local Border Security Program
$20,000 • La Grulla, Local Border Security Program
$17,000 • San Benito, Local Border Security Program
$15,000 • Sullivan City, Local Border Security Program
$15,000 • Willacy County, Local Border Security Program-DA’s Office
$10,000 • Cameron County, Local Border Security Program, Constable PCT4
$10,000 • Rancho Viejo, Local Border Security Program
$7,500 • Raymondville, Local Border Security Program
$7,000 • Edcouch, Local Border Security Program
$7,000 • La Feria, Local Border Security Program
$2,000 • La Villa, Local Border Security Program

SAFE Ready Facilities

42 awards totaling $1.6 million to assist medical care facilities throughout Texas with the necessary training, equipment, and supplies to achieve and maintain Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)-Ready designation as defined in Chapter 323 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

The total funding for SAFE Ready Facilities in the Rio Grande Valley is $80,367.22, which is divided accordingly:

$50,000 • McAllen Hospitals LP Hidalgo County SAFE Project
$30,367.22 • Doctors Hospital at Renaissance SAFE HAVEN Program 

Serving Victims of Crime:

308 awards totaling $104.6 million to provide victim service activities including: first responder mental health services, professional therapy and counseling, crisis intervention services, and peer support groups.

The total funding for Serving Victims of Crime in the Rio Grande Valley is $1,820,229.03, which is divided accordingly:

$449,655.74 • Cameron County Victim Assistance Program (VOCA)
$400,000 • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley South Texas Advocacy Project
$141,472.20 • Starr County, Crime Victims’ Unit
$141,472.20 • Starr County, Victims of Domestic Violence Assistance Program
$135,292.08 • Willacy County, Victims Assistance Unit
$113,789.62 • RGV?Families & Friends of Murdered Children Living in the Face of Trauma (Lift) Survivors of Homicide Project
$64,550 • Cameron County, Victims Assistance for Families of Sexual Abuse/Assault
$47,916.32 • La Grulla, First Responder Mental Health and Resiliency Program
$45,562 • Raymondville, Victims of Crime Program
$45,350.10 • Brownsville, First Responder Mental Health Toolbox
$41,233.64 • Weslaco, City of, Crime Victim Coordinator
$41,200 • Pharr, Crime Victims Liaison Project
$39,392.10 • Rio Grande City, Crime Victims Liaison
$38,820 • Donna, Crime Victims Liaison
$38,523.03 • Pharr, Domestic Violence Coordinator Project
$36,000 • Mission, First Responder Mental Health Program 

Specialty Courts: 

61 awards statewide totaling $7.9 million to support judicially supervised treatment, intensive case management, and other services to assist participants with substance abuse or mental health challenges move toward a healthier lifestyle, reduce the number of repeat offenses, and address congestion in the court system.

The total funding for Specialty Courts in the Rio Grande Valley is $1,099,580.83, which is divided accordingly:

$258,096.44 • Hidalgo County Mental Health Court
$181,927.08 • Hidalgo County Misdemeanor DWI Court
$160,035.02 • Hidalgo County Hidalgo County Youthful Offender Court
$146,429.99 • Hidalgo County DWI Court Program
$141,601.30 • Cameron County Divert Court
$115,864.00 • Cameron County Veterans Court
$95,627 • Hidalgo County Veterans Court Program 

Statewide Radio Infrastructure: 

28 awards statewide totaling $20.4 million to connect regional interoperable communications systems, improve or establish tower sites, and enhance or maintain other radio system infrastructure statewide.

The total funding for Statewide Radio Infrastructure specifically for the Rio Grande Valley is $1,100,000 to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, with portions of two other grants to be used in deep South Texas. Those grants are divided accordingly:

$1,160,737.94 • South Texas Development Council STDC VHF P?25 Communications System Upgrade    $1,161,000 • Texas DPS RoIP System of Systems Interconnection ? Phase 1
$1,100,000 • Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council COG?21 Interoperable Communications Infrastructure 

Texas Anti-Gang:

8 awards statewide totaling $8.1 million to provide coordinated law enforcement activity targeting gangs and other criminal organizations operating in Texas. Funds support designated facilities that house personnel from key federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

$600,000 • McAllen, Rio Grande Valley Anti?Gang Center 

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Alma Uribe contributed to this article. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and a member of the Sunset Advisory Commission. Rep. Canales represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr, and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426.

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