July 15, 2022
Mayor Carter Announces New Efforts to Support Safer Outcomes in Neighborhoods Across Saint Paul
Array of New Efforts Include the Launch of Project PEACE by the Office of Neighborhood Safety, and new Community-First Public Safety Investments Supported by City of Saint Paul American Rescue Plan Funds
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, alongside Federal and City leaders, Mayor Carter announced an array of new efforts to support safer outcomes in neighborhoods across Saint Paul. Project PEACE, led by the Office of Neighborhood Safety, is a new initiative focused on deterring gun violence in our community through prevention, environmental design, accountability, community action, and enforcement. The Mayor also announced $10 million in new investments funded through City of Saint Paul American Rescue Plan funds including $4 million for Office of Neighborhood Safety community grants, $3 million in expanded programming and supports in our recreation centers and libraries, a $2 million match for the Department of Justice COPS grant program, and $1 million to support pedestrian-traffic safety.
These investments follow other previously allocated City of Saint Paul American Rescue Plan investments that support neighborhood safety including funding for domestic abuse intervention, City attorney case backlogs, and police overtime. Combined with the investments announced today, $37.6 million in City of Saint Paul American Rescue Plan funds have been identified to support safer outcomes in neighborhoods across Saint Paul.
“Our vision for public safety is too ambitious to be achieved by first responders alone,” said Mayor Carter. “Ensuring safer neighborhoods is all of our jobs and that's why this partnership is needed.”
“Senator Smith and I fought so hard to pass the American Rescue Plan way back, and that included funding for St. Paul…Project Peace is going to go such a long way toward reducing crime by addressing the root causes, while making sure that we have the resources to get at the immediate responses,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. “We’ve got to bolster the police and we also have to bolster crime prevention and being there for these kids at the front end and being there for the community at the front end.”
“The American Rescue Plan is continuing to have a significant positive impact on communities across Minnesota and the country. Project PEACE is an innovative, community-focused approach to reducing crime and gun violence and is exactly the type of thing the federal government should be a partner in,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith. “This $10 million investment reaffirms the importance of taking a holistic approach to public safety by using early intervention methods, encouraging community action, ensuring accountability, and promoting healing. In short, this program will save lives and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this initiative.”
"Through Mayor Carter's leadership, communities across Saint Paul will feel the benefits of investing in proven community violence intervention strategies,” said Julie Rodriguez, White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. “The path to safer neighborhoods will be paved by communities working together with the Biden-Harris Administration. Due to funding from the American Rescue Plan and conversations with communities, together we are co-creating effective approaches to safer neighborhoods"
“P-E-A-C-E is a meaningful word in this work, but here it is also an acronym. It stands for Prevention and Intervention, Environmental Design, Accountability and Outreach, Community Action and Enforcement,” said Saint Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson. “Project PEACE isn’t just a program; it is being designed as a new sustained approach to addressing gun violence that is both Community and Evidence Informed. Key decisions in this work are not based on politics, but on empirical information that shows it will save the most lives.”
"Project PEACE empowers community partners and public agencies to play a more active role to co-produce public safety, prevent violence and promote healing through an equity-based, healing-centered and trauma-informed approach,” said Office of Neighborhood Safety Director Brooke Blakey.
“My goal as the Chief of Police is to work with all of our partners to keep those in our community who are at risk of being involved with violence, safe, alive, and out of prison,” said Interim Police Chief Jeremy Ellison. “The community first public safety framework gives us a path forward to accomplish this goal as a collaborative team.”
ABOUT PROJECT PEACE
Project PEACE is a methodical, individualized gun violence intervention that connects gun violence involved individuals with evidence-based community led programming, and wraparound supports. The approach facilitates direct, sustained and persistent engagement with a small number of group-involved individuals through a partnership of community leaders, optimal response teams, social service providers, employers, and law enforcement standing and acting together. It was designed after months of community input and stakeholder meetings intended to reflect the needs of our residents.
The launch of Project PEACE comes amid the City of Saint Paul’s ongoing engagement in the Biden Administration’s White House CVI Collaborative, which involves 15 jurisdictions across the country working to leverage American Rescue Plan funds to scale and strengthen evidence-based community violence interventions (CVI) to reduce gun violence. Project PEACE will support President Biden’s comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to gun crime.
ABOUT NEW NEIGHBOROOD SAFETY INVESTMENTS
Office of Neighborhood Safety Community Council Grants: $4,000,000
In the coming weeks, community members will be invited to apply to join the Office of Neighborhood Safety Community Council (NSCC). As detailed in the city’s administrative code, this 15-member group will work with the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Safety to develop an annual strategic plan that identifies, recommends and prioritizes public safety initiatives, establishes areas of focus, and monitors justice and violence prevention metrics and indicators. This work will also include reviewing and reporting on the effectiveness of activities and initiatives undertaken by the Office of Neighborhood Safety.
The NSCC will also make recommendations for grant-making activities related to enhancing neighborhood safety, including reviewing and evaluating funding proposals. Today’s announcement of $4 million for grants reflects the resources the NSCC will work with the Office of Neighborhood Safety to allocate in support of neighborhood safety efforts across Saint Paul.
Library Optimal Response: $1,500,000
With this new investment of $1.5 million for optimal response, Saint Paul Public Library will enhance its community-first approach to safety in libraries that further embeds a community-care and trauma-sensitive approach to supporting youth and adult library users. This community-first approach to safety in libraries includes the creation and launch of a new staff role of safety specialists, an external review and assessment of existing library public services, safety resources, and the creation of a comprehensive public services safety plan. The goal of this work is to ensure safety for community members and city workers, increase the practice of care in community spaces, and deliver optimized safety response in public libraries. This investment will expand SPPL’s capacity to practice a community-first approach to public safety in libraries throughout the city.
Parks and Recreation - Recreation Expansion: $1,500,000
This $1.5 million American Rescue Plan investment will expand access to recreation programming for youth in our community, while working to identify the interventions and services that create the greatest impact on creating and sustaining recreation centers as safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces. Parks and Recreation programs continue to play a key role in helping young people gain skills and connections that promote growth and improve social, emotional and educational outcomes. This investment in expanded and subsidized recreation programming provides greater opportunities to engage in healthy and productive activities outside of school time, especially during the summer months for young people across our city.
COPS Grant Match: $2,000,000
In March, the Mayor announced the City of Saint Paul will accept a U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to support the hiring of new Saint Paul Police Officers. These $2 million in matching funds will support the hiring of up to 30 officers to support the Police Department in hiring up to its authorized sworn strength.
The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) is designed to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct support to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. CHP funding supports the hiring of career law enforcement officers to increase an agency's community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. The FY 2021 CHP award program was an open solicitation.
Traffic-Pedestrian Safety: $1,000,000
This $1 million investment will support traffic-pedestrian safety as part of the Comprehensive Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Plan. These efforts include:
- Citywide Crash Study – A study to develop a prioritized list of corridors for traffic safety improvements based on a data-driven approach.
- Temporary Safety Treatments - The implementation of temporary traffic safety treatments at select locations on arterial and collector roadways.
- Traffic Policy Review – Updating Traffic Engineering Policies consistent with current engineering best practices.
- Speed Enforcement Information and Education Campaign - Engagement regarding speed and traffic safety enforcement and best strategies, coupled with the development and implementation of a Traffic Safety Public Information and Education campaign.
- Secondary Notification System - System to enable SPPD to notify owners of vehicles with certain equipment violations that have been deemed not to be an immediate public safety concern.
- Long Line Striper – Funding to support the replacement of the City’s long line pavement marking machine.