Law Enforcement Leaders to Discuss Proposed $100 Million Investment to Combat Gun Violence

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Released: June 21, 2024

PA Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis Joins Delaware County Council, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, and Law Enforcement Leaders to Discuss Proposed $100 Million Investment to Combat Gun Violence

Delaware County Council, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, and Delaware County Sheriff Jerry L. Sanders, Jr. welcomed Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, local law enforcement leaders, and elected officials and community leaders to discuss the Shapiro-Davis Administration’s proposal for an additional $100M investment to reduce gun violence in Pennsylvania.

Lt. Governor Davis highlighted the critical importance of the proposed 2024-25 budget investments for reducing gun violence, praising Delaware County’s comprehensive approach that supports law enforcement while addressing community-based factors that contribute to gun violence.

“To combat the epidemic of gun violence, we need to take a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes, invests in community-based organizations working to prevent violence, and supports law enforcement agencies in keeping our communities safe,” said Davis.

The proposed budget increase aims to build safer communities by expanding several Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) programs, which have already contributed to a 29 percent reduction in homicides in Delaware County and an increase in the removal of illegal firearms. Statewide, homicides decreased by 17% in 2023 compared to the previous year.

“While this is a sign of progress, this progress cannot be looked at as an end point. Instead, it is a foundation to build upon,” Davis noted.

Over the past three years, PCCD, chaired by Davis, has invested nearly $35 million in state and federal funds to support 160 projects across Delaware County, enhancing public safety through various initiatives and measures.

“Thank you to PCCD, which has invested nearly $35 million in state and federal funds to support 160 projects throughout Delaware County,” said County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “These funds have been crucial in addressing a broad range of public safety needs, including improving reentry supports, addressing behavioral health concerns, and enhancing crisis intervention—pivotal efforts in advancing strategies to reduce gun violence and other violent crimes.”

Delaware County Council continues to provide strong support for the District Attorney's office and its initiatives to build community trust and resilience. The use of ARPA funds to enable the DA’s office to add additional detectives and the recent $40M investment in an upgraded state-of-the-art emergency communications system will provide law enforcement with the tools to help keep communities safer.

During the visit, Lt. Gov. Davis also touted the County’s support for the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods, launched by District Attorney Stollsteimer, and for the Making A Change Group, an organization working to tackle violence and strengthen the Chester community.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis and the Shapiro-Davis administration for the incredible investment that they have made in programs to reduce gun violence throughout the Commonwealth, including in our program, the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods,” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. “With a substantial investment from PCCD, we have reduced gun violence homicides by 68% in the City of Chester between 2020 and 2023.”

Cory Long, Executive Director and Founder of Making A Change Group, also expressed gratitude for the PCCD’s strong financial support for gun violence reduction.

“With the support of PCCD, our representatives in the state legislature, County Council, and our District Attorney, MACG has been able to make progress in restoring trust by working with the young people in our community, many of whom have been deeply affected by crime,” said Cory Long, Executive Director and Founder of Making A Change Group.

In addition to Delaware County officials, Senator Tim Kearney, Rep. Jenn O’Mara, Rep. Lisa Borowski, Rep. Gina Curry, and Rep. David Delloso participated, actively engaging with law enforcement leaders and showing support for efforts to address gun violence, emphasizing the collaborative efforts across multiple levels of government.

“In partnership with our police departments and prosecutors, these prevention strategies are working, and we must sustain investment in our young people and safety,” said Senator Tim Kearney.

The Shapiro-Davis proposed 2024-25 budget includes $100 million for the following initiatives:

  • $37.5M for the GVIP grant program
  • $37.5M increase for PCCD’s VIP program bringing the total to $77.5M in state funds (up from $40M million last year);
  • $1M to stand up an Office of Gun Violence Prevention within PCCD;
  • $1.5M to increase staffing at the Pennsylvania State Police to combat gun violence;
  • $11.5M to create a statewide Building Opportunity through Out of School Time (BOOST) program, to reduce community violence by providing more after-school learning opportunities for young people; and
  • $11M to create more welcoming environments by building parks, addressing blight, and improving shared spaces, such as parks, streets, and playgrounds to promote safer communities.
  • $5M increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund at PCCD, to provide resources for houses of worship, community centers, and other public spaces to equip themselves with security measures. This increase would bring the total for the program to $10M.

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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