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HPD gets federal research grant Sep. 29, 2014 @ 10:45 PM CURTIS JOHNSON HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Police Department received $100,000 in federal research funds aimed at transforming downtown and the surrounding area. The grant, announced Monday, will finance scientific research from 1st to 18th streets between Veterans Memorial Boulevard to 7th Avenue. It provides money as part of the Justice Department’s Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program. Officials hope its findings bolster the city’s chance at implementation funds to revolutionize the city, said grant writer and Huntington Police Patrolman Rod Pell. The research will pull together expertise from city police, Marshall University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and Collective Impact, he said. They will analyze crime factors for particular areas among other items, such as the impact of a business’ appearance on crime experienced, the organization of various stakeholders and to what degree crime disproportionately affects transient populations, such as those students and others who move about the city. “We’re very excited,” Pell said. “The information that we’re about to find out is going to help develop something that will, more than likely, completely change the downtown area in a positive direction. I have no doubt we have the capability.” Huntington was among 11 communities nationwide to receive planning funds from the grant. Six others received implementation funds, which Pell said represents the next step Huntington hopes to achieve. Success at the next level could mean millions of dollars in law enforcement services, personnel, equipment, in addition to economic development and neighborhood revitalization opportunities, Pell explained. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Rep. Nick Rahall’s office issued press releases touting news of the grant. Monday’s victory was years in the making and represents an effort started under the administration of former chief Skip Holbrook, Pell said. He believed this year’s approach and the inclusion of more players helped the city overcome unsuccessful efforts at obtaining the competitive grant. Follow reporter Curtis Johnson at Facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD and via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD.