ATLANTA – The Justice Department is awarding more than $6.4 million in grants to local civic groups, governments, and law enforcement agencies in Georgia to support public safety and community justice activities.

Fifteen grants will go to recipients in the cities of Albany, Americus, Athens, Butler, Columbus, Macon, Thomasville, Tifton, and Warner Robins.

“These grants address many of the greatest concerns our citizens have today, which boil down to safer communities for all,” said Peter Leary, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “This kind of support for our community and law enforcement partners’ efforts goes hand in hand with our focused efforts to reduce violence and hold the most violent offenders accountable.”

Three of the grants are worth nearly $1 million each. In Albany, a group called This WORKS Inc. will partner with the Dougherty County School System to provide a behavioral health program that will include antiviolence education.

The Muscogee County School District in Columbus will use its grant funds to support efforts to prevent group-based retaliatory violence.

The Taylor County School District in Butler will put its grant toward improving school safety and increasing access to mental health care for students.

Athens-based Area Committees to Improve Opportunities Now Inc. will receive nearly $785,000 to support a 36-county program providing employment coaching and mentoring for young people before and after their release from the criminal justice system.

Thomasville will use a grant of more than $435,000 to launch a law enforcement and mental health co-responder program for real-time responses to emergencies.

Macon-Bibb County will put a $385,000 grant toward expanding its domestic violence unit by adding an investigator and prosecutor.

The city of Columbus will use a grant of nearly $120,000 to buy protective gear for law enforcement and jail personnel, add two K-9 units and provide a new smart app giving residents early warnings of emergencies.

The grants are being provided through the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs.