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Fighting family violence with federal grant
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The fight against family violence and juvenile delinquency in the county and city will receive a boost from a recently awarded stimulus funds.

The Rockdale circuit will receive more than $300,000 in recently awarded Byrne/JAG grant, which is part of the federal stimulus package.

In a cooperative effort spearheaded by State Court Judge Nancy Bills and former Chief of Staff R.J. Hadley when he was with the county, the courts, clerk of courts, city, county, sheriff’s office and police department came together earlier in the year when they learned stimulus funding might be available.

"We talked about what are some of the things we need, how could we create jobs, how could we sustain jobs," said Bills.

Derek Marchand, who was formerly with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which is distributing the funds, helped write the grant. "What they basically did is they came together, they identified certain problems, and they voted as a group that these are the functions we would go after and try to fund," said Marchand.

The Byrne/JAG grant funds will be split towards two programs. About $227,000 of the funds will go towards hiring an investigator dedicated to domestic violence cases for the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office and Conyers Police Department and hiring a full time prosecutor for domestic violence cases in the District Attorney’s office to speed up the process.

About $93,600 will go towards the juvenile court system and allow it to hire a part time assistant to address the backlog of cases and help towards hiring a full time director for the Evening Reporting Center, which allows juveniles awaiting trial to avoid being put into detention.

The CJCC distributes the funds but the county will act as the handling agent for the court systems. Bills and Marchand will present information about the grant at the Dec. 14 Board of Commissioners work session.