Fulton and DeKalb Counties were awarded federal grants Tuesday that police departments will use to fight child exploitation and sexual abuse.
Dekalb County will receive $496,793 and Fulton will get $352,803 from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the United States Department of Justice.
COPS Director Bernard Melekian came from Washington D.C. to Atlanta to hold a press conference Tuesday morning where he greeted the grant recipients and announced details of a national Child Sexual Predator Prosecution grant program, according to a media release.
“Community policing has become an important tool in our efforts to secure the safety of all our citizens,” said DeKalb County Police Chief William O'Brien in the release. “When it comes to ensuring our children are safe, it is important that we strengthen relationships with all community partners, and I am grateful to COPS for supporting our agency in doing so.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said, “I am truly honored to receive this grant. These funds will go a long way towards ending Atlanta's reputation as the ‘Child Prostitution Capital of the World.’”
In Fulton County, the grant money will allow the Crimes Against Women & Children's Unit to hire additional staff members.
In Dekalb County, the grant will help the DeKalb County Police Department locate, track, arrest, and prosecute child sexual predators “more efficiently.” The money will also go toward overtime pay for investigators and purchasing equipment used to analyze evidence, transport tools and process cases.