Project Longevity must be funded
We are a little puzzled about the apparent disruption of Project Longevity due to a lack of funding.
Lack of funding conceivably could cause a lot of damage to those on the path to reversing their lives.
We were under the impression that the state had stopped playing “Ring Around the Rosie” with crime and violence and were on a path to reduce gang violence.
It’s not looking good from this end. The lack of funding has left workers unpaid for weeks and conceivably could cause a lot of damage to those on the path to reversing their lives.
When the program was rolled out under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, it was heralded as a game-changer and by all accounts lived up to the hype.
Over the last several years, officials from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to his top guy in law enforcement and lawmakers from around the country and parts of the world have applauded its effectiveness.
According to a study by Yale researchers published in the journal Crime and Delinquency, Project Longevity “led to a significant reduction in gang-related violent crime in the city.”
Indeed, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp touted the program’s role in the city’s winning effort to reduce crime. The New Haven Police Department recently welcomed police officials from Honduras who are considering launching the program in their country.
So, how can funding dry up for a program so important that it inspired endless meetings, editorial boards, editorials, front page headlines — and is touted by law enforcement as effective? We are wondering, too. As Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said, “This is not traditional law enforcement work.”
Daily intel meetings are held in New Haven in which the heads of police and state and federal prosecutors join leaders of the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among other agencies, to discuss the last 24 hours of crime in the city.
Many times, this collaboration has provided law enforcement officials with critical information to make swift arrests — such as the arrests of suspected drug dealers made within 48 hours of a rash of 14 overdoses in the city from what turned out to be fentanyl being sold as cocaine.
So, the program is useful and pays dividends by not only helping to reduce crime, but saving lives.
But this isn’t the first time people have left the program due to the state’s inability to meet payroll.
The Rev. William Mathis resigned from his role as New Haven coordinator for the anti-gang violence initiative, citing too many occasions when he wasn’t getting paid. According to Mathis, months would go by before he received a check.
You can’t reduce crime or gang violence without the necessary financial resources.
This program is too important to too many people on too many levels for it to fall through the budget gap.
Connecticut must restore appropriate funding to Project Longevity.
“Many times, this collaboration has provided law enforcement officials with critical information to make swift arrests — such as the arrests of suspected drug dealers made within 48 hours of a rash of 14 overdoses in the city from what turned out to be fentanyl being sold as cocaine.