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weed and seed community

The Los Angeles program did not begin with a massive law enforcement effort, as Mancillas asserts. Because the Los Angeles program has $18 million for human services, our primary objectives have been to secure the federal funding for 1992 and implement the human services programs as quickly as possible. Community, city, county and federal representatives have established working groups in areas such as education; housing; job training and placement; family, health and mental services; gang alternatives, and drug prevention and treatment. The city has already received funding for housing subsidies and job training.

Weed and Seed Program

In a recent Column Left (“Police Have Some ‘Weeds’ of Their Own,” Aug. 10), Jorge R. Mancillas expressed reservations about the recently approved Weed and Seed program in Los Angeles. Mancillas incorrectly assumed that the Los Angeles program would begin with a massive law enforcement effort without attempting to reconcile existing difficulties with police-community relations. Mancillas also dismissed the “seed” or human services component as nothing more than “a few crumbs.” Unfortunately, Mancillas was not familiar with the details of the Los Angeles program when he wrote his article. I have since talked with Mancillas and offer the following overview with the hope of correcting some misperceptions about the Los Angeles Weed and Seed program.

Weed and Seed is a strategy that combines community-based law enforcement (“weed”) with human services (“seed”) in order to assist residents in reclaiming and revitalizing their neighborhoods. New federal funding ($18 million for human services; $1 million for law enforcement) is combined with existing local resources to develop more effective programs within the selected communities. Los Angeles has two Weed and Seed sites: one is in the Pico-Union/Koreatown area and one is in South-Central Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles program did not begin with a massive law enforcement effort, as Mancillas asserts. Because the Los Angeles program has $18 million for human services, our primary objectives have been to secure the federal funding for 1992 and implement the human services programs as quickly as possible. Community, city, county and federal representatives have established working groups in areas such as education; housing; job training and placement; family, health and mental services; gang alternatives, and drug prevention and treatment. The city has already received funding for housing subsidies and job training.

In addition to planning and establishing the 1992 federally funded programs, the working groups are charged with developing long-term strategies for dealing with the problems of the Weed and Seed communities. The federal funds provide a good foundation to leverage existing resources and to encourage coordinated efforts. The implementation of successful programs in 1992 also will provide a base for increased funding in 1993.

As to Mancillas’ observation that a successful “weed” component requires a reconciliation between the police and community, we agree. In fact, the law enforcement representatives participating in the Weed and Seed program are committed to community-based policing and to improving community relations. Law enforcement officials have proposed several programs, such as bicycle patrols, recreational activities, and mobile substations, in order to improve relations between the police and the Weed and Seed communities. There will be no indiscriminate “sweeps”; rather, police will rely on the residents to assist in ridding the neighborhoods of the most violent and destructive criminals. Chief Willie Williams is committed to community-based policing and supports the Weed and Seed strategy of combining human services with supportive law enforcement.

While the Weed and Seed program cannot change community-police relations or resolve the problems of our inner cities overnight, it is a step in the right direction and should be supported. We have an opportunity to set aside our fears and establish some lasting dialogues.

Weed and seed community
As part of the upcoming fiscal year budget, the Weed & Seed program had ended. Funding for new Weed & Seed sites will no longer be available. However, these types of programs may still be available through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI). This initiative was not funded in the FY 2011 final continuing resolution. However, BCJI was included in the President’s proposed FY2012 budget and is pending before Congress. For questions about this source of grant funding please consult the Weed & Seed website FAQ section.

Weed and Seed

Weed and Seed is a Department of Justice community-based program whose goal is to prevent, control and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods throughout the country. Weed and Seed strategy follows a two-pronged approach: local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding” out criminals who engage in violent crimes and drug abuse, and “seeding” brings to the area human services encompassing prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization. A community-oriented policing component bridges weeding and seeding strategies: officers obtain cooperation and information from area residents while they assist residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and resources.

Within the Northern District of California there have been a number of designated Weed and Seed sites over the past 15 years. In the past several years there have been the following designations: Salinas, East Oakland, San Francisco and two in San Jose. West Oakland has been a graduated site for several years. Each of the sites has unique characteristics which create special challenges. At each site, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has played an important role in working with the steering committee and in bringing together the participants on both the “weeding” and “seeding” sides of the program. Most of the programs have run their individual five year program funding cycles, but continue to meet and work on Weed and Seed issues in the community.

As part of the upcoming fiscal year budget, the Weed & Seed program had ended. Funding for new Weed & Seed sites will no longer be available. However, these types of programs may still be available through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI). This initiative was not funded in the FY 2011 final continuing resolution. However, BCJI was included in the President’s proposed FY2012 budget and is pending before Congress. For questions about this source of grant funding please consult the Weed & Seed website FAQ section.

A variety of funding opportunities for law enforcement and other programs are listed on the Office of Justice Programs website.