The Little Rock Police Department is receiving more than $1 million in federal grants, which officials say will allow access to new technology and provide better assistance to victims of crime.
The city received three separate grants. One will allow the department to buy a National Integrated Ballistic Information Network system, or NIBIN. Captain Ken Temple said having it in-house can provide valuable information quickly for gun-related crimes.
"NIBIN is a specialized computer system that is hooked up to the ATF network, and it allows us to take shell casings from gun crime scenes and to be able to triage them and enter them into the national database," Temple said. "If there’s any matches there, then we get those matches back as possible leads."
Other grants will fund six crime victim advocates, which Police Chief Keith Humphrey said will target previously underrepresented segments of society.
"We’ll have a Spanish speaking advocate which is very important," he said. "Our Latinx community is growing and so we want to ensure the Latinx community that we are advocates for their safety, and to make sure… to be inclusive in our efforts to reduce violent crimes."
Another person will specialize in helping LGBTQ crime victims, while the grant money will allow the hiring of a detective to only handle domestic violence cases.
Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. said the grants help meet a goal set during a recent crime summit.
"We proclaimed July to be the public safety month, we talked about this action, and now, within two months, because we got a chance to work with U.S. attorney Cody Hiland, Sen. [John] Boozman, and other members of the entire Arkansas delegation, here are the results," Scott said, "$1.2 million that are not only going to curb gun violence, but also focus on true community policing."
The mayor said Hiland and Sen. Boozman used their influence to help the city secure the federal grants.
"Today is a good day,” Hiland said. "This is not a panacea by any stretch, but we have an opportunity with this new technology in addition to the one at the state crime lab to make an impact on gun crime in the city of Little Rock."
The grant money will be available on the first of next month.