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  • Edwards: $58.5 million for A&M programs, funding for ocean exploration, anti-terror training and juvenile crime reduction programs

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Chet Edwards announced that the final 2006 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce Appropriations bill will include more than $58.5 million for ocean exploration, anti-terrorist training and juvenile crime reduction programs at A&M.

$57.9 Million for Ocean Exploration Program at A&M

The $57.9 million for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is the largest federal science initiative at Texas A&M. Funded through the National Science Foundation, the IODP is the successor to the highly effective, 20 year old, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). The IODP will continue the work of drilling into the ocean floor to unlock the history and dynamics of the planet. The drilling program has revolutionized the understanding of the forces that create tsunamis and earthquakes and yielded fundamental discoveries into global climate history. Further, the program has been at the forefront of research into methane hydrates, natural gas reserves that could contain as much energy as all other forms of fossil fuels on the planet combined. These funds are specifically intended to help A&M purchase and begin the outfitting of a new drilling vessel.

“Texas A&M’s key role in this worldwide research program is a reflection of the respect A&M researchers have earned at the National Science Foundation and the international scientific community,” Edwards said. “This is an enormously important scientific program that will advance mankind’s’ knowledge of our earth and global climate changes, and I applaud the Bush Administration’s support of this funding.”

$300,000 Secured by Edwards for First Responder Anti-Terror Training Program

Congressman Chet Edwards earmarked $300,000 for the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program at A&M. This partnership between the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and Texas State University provides critical training for law enforcement officers who are the first to respond to acts of violence in our communities, hospitals, shopping malls, and schools. ALERRT plays an integral role in saving the lives not only of our citizens, but also our police officers as they respond to a wide array of dangerous law enforcement situations.

“We appreciate the continued efforts of Congressman Edwards to enhance the safety and security of the State of Texas,” said Robert L. Smith, Director of TEEX. “This funding for ALERRT will provide advanced, highly specialized training for law enforcement officers as they are continually being faced with more and more dangerous acts of violence.”

ALERRT provides a live simulation of an emergency response that involves a terrorist or active shooter. The first responding law enforcement officer must quickly use offensive tactics to limit the loss of life. Their initial response is critical to the resolution of a terrorist or other dangerous incident. The training provided by ALERRT will help first responders, who may be from different agencies and unknown to each other, to quickly and efficiently form a cohesive offensive team and stop the violence/loss of life. ALERRT was established as the first permanently funded program in the United States specifically charged with the development and delivery of this two-day training for first responding law enforcement.

Edwards Secures $300,000 to Reduce Juvenile Crime

Edwards has also secured $300,000 for a study of the Texas Juvenile Justice Program at Texas A&M. The study will attempt to reduce juvenile crime by identifying why some juveniles successfully reform and reenter society, while others remain involved in crime.

“To save taxpayers money and to lower crime rates, we must do a better job of reducing the number of repeat juvenile offenders and that is the goal of this study,” said Edwards.

Texas currently confines nearly 10,000 juvenile offenders in 15 state-operated juvenile institutions, 9 state-operated halfway houses, and 23 private residential programs at a yearly cost of over $240 million dollars. It is unclear why some youth offenders successfully reform and reenter society, while others remain involved in crime. The A&M study will systematically monitor youths released state facilities to identify the factors that lead to successful reform. Researchers will then design a program to reduce recidivism among juvenile offenders.

“Our faculty looks forward to examining the program experiences of juvenile offenders and to helping these youths increase their chances for successful, productive lives,” said Charles A. Johnson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We appreciate Congressman Edwards’ leadership in support of these important goals and believe this effort will have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Texas families.”

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