By Ray King

An effort to reduce juvenile crime and gang activity in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County is moving forward, according to Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr.

Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show Tuesday, Woods said the program, Gang Reduction Initiative of Pine Bluff has been dubbed GRIP.

He also mentioned that the steering committee will be meeting Tuesday to review applications from 8 non-profit organizations. The committee will be making a decision on which gets funded and for how much. Woods said the grant awards will range from $40,000 to a minimum of $5,000 and there will also be some non-monetary awards, partnering with organizations like Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation for example.

While officials have not heard back from their application for a federal grant to operate the program, Woods said the City of Pine Bluff and Go Forward Pine Bluff has made contributions to GRIP.

While he declined to identify the names, Woods said GRIP will be soon announcing that it has secured commitments of $300,000 to fund the program for the first year.