Federal Grant Funds Joint Effort to Reduce High Risk Behavior
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 4, 2010) – Missouri will receive $949,617 in federal funding for a joint effort to increase readiness among Whiteman Air Force Base personnel through a program designed to reduce the use of alcohol by underage airmen. UCM is one of the partners in the effort with the Missouri Department of Public Safety, WAFB, the cities of Warrensburg and Knob Noster, and Johnson County. The new federal grant, administered by the Department of Public Safety, will fund the program over the next three years.
Amy Kiger, UCM's director of violence and substance abuse prevention and chairperson of the Warrensburg Area Partners in Prevention, spoke at a recent press conference announcing the receipt of the federal grant.
“This grant is good news,” said Missouri Department of Public Safety Director, John M. Britt. “It should boost what is already a strong, united effort by this community to reduce underage alcohol consumption.”
UCM in conjunction with Warrensburg Area Partners in Prevention (WAPIP) will receive a sub-grant from the Department of Public Safety to coordinate and implement the project. WAPIP has already had a substantial impact on drinking in the Warrensburg community.
“Through WAPIP’s combination of regulatory improvements, alcohol-free activities, increased enforcement initiatives, and community education, in 2008 our city saw a 97 percent decrease in underage liquor law violations in our downtown entertainment district,” said WAPIP Chairperson Amy Kiger. “We are looking forward to utilizing this federal grant funding to expand these successful strategies to the Knob Noster and Whiteman Air Force Base community.”
Specific strategies that will be used include law enforcement saturation efforts targeting DWI, regulatory compliance checks to ensure alcohol retailers are not selling to minors, an education and awareness media campaign, and providing opportunities for underage Airmen to socialize without alcohol at the base and with students on the university campus.
“While the underage drinking rates among our Airmen are lower than the general population, any underage drinking is incompatible with Air Force core values,” said Brig. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler, 509th Bomb Wing Commander. “We really appreciate this grant because we have an enemy to fight and underage drinking degrades our ability to prosecute that critical mission.”
The Department of Public Safety, Juvenile Justice Program applied for the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and is in charge of administration of this new Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Discretionary Grant. The grant will permit the expansion of an existing position and the hiring of one full-time and two part-time employees.
Additional details about the grant were provided during a press conference Jan. 4 at WAFB. Joining Kiger, Wheeler and Britt to speak at the event were Ed Morris, chair of the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Group; Warrensburg Police Chief Bruce Howey; Johnson County Sheriff Chuck Heiss; and Lt. Col. Jay Delancey, base communications coordinator who served as emcee. Richard C. Morrell, vice president for student affairs at UCM and WAPIP co-chair, also spoke to the gathering and read remarks from University President Aaron Podolefsky, who was unable to attend.
Speaking on behalf of the president, Morrell said, “We all have a role to play in this initiative – educators, Air Force leadership, law enforcement, city administrators, parents and friends. Each person, by his or her action or inaction, creates an environment where underage and high-risk alcohol use is either expected and condoned – or discouraged. This grant will help each of us have a better understanding of our potential to positively impact our communities. And I pledge the University of Central Missouri’s full commitment to this important partnership.”
WAPIP is a community coalition created to promote the safe and legal sale, service, and consumption of alcohol. Whiteman Air Force Base, UCM, the cities of Warrensburg and Knob Noster, and Johnson County are currently members of the WAPIP.