At the same time, Groves adds that the ability to truly wage war on the drug trade hinges on adequate funding and enforcement. Decreased law enforcement presence spells opportunity to drug traffickers because no one will be there to interdict them. He adds, "By cutting funding, you're essentially creating a safe haven for their 'businesses' to flourish."Where Byrne-JAG began
The Byrne-JAG story began on February 26, 1988. This is when Officer Edward R. Byrne of the New York City Police Department was on detail protecting a witness who had agreed to testify in court against local drug dealers. As he sat in his patrol car outside the witnesses' home, around 3:30 a.m., two armed gunmen crept up to his car from both sides. One of the men knocked on the passenger-side window to distract Byrne as a second perpetrator ran up to the driver's side window and opened fire, shooting the 22-year-old officer five times in the head. Both gunmen, along with two other perpetrators acting as lookouts, fled the scene.
Authorities captured the four assailants — members of a gang that had been instructed by a jailed drug kingpin to kill a police officer — six days later, and the courts later sentenced them to 25 years to life.
As part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, the U.S. Government launched a Department of Justice initiative titled the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The initiative was designed to help state and local governments support activities aimed at preventing and controlling crime and improving the justice system. Over the years, it has saved the lives of countless young officers and has improved the safety of communities across the United States.