ATF in the Community

ATF partners with the private sector, academia, and local, state, and other federal law enforcement organizations to provide a variety of community outreach programs as part of the agency’s strategic approach to reducing violent crimes. Our combined efforts incorporate educational, community-oriented, and policy-driven activities to help keep our communities safe.

School-Based Outreach


G.R.E.A.T. Program Manager Warren Harding, Officer Stephanie Velasquez and Supervisory Special Agent Kevin Smith teach G.R.E.A.T. summer camp lessonsATF launched the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.) as an anti-gang, delinquency deterrent, and anti-bullying prevention community outreach program for middle and elementary school children. Students in the G.R.E.A.T. program participate in year-round interactive educational programs and summer camps that teach gang activity-resistant behaviors such as conflict management, decision making, and effective communications skills.

G.R.E.A.T. is the nation’s only federally operated anti-gang program supported by local, state, and federal enforcement, educational institutions, nonprofits and DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

Anacostia High School Public Leadership Academy (PLA)

Anacostia High School provides a unique career-and college-preparatory education built upon the belief that our students are stewards of their community and active contributors to the revitalization of both their neighborhood and the world at large through sustainable innovation. The mission at Anacostia is to empower students to rethink systems and structures by promoting integrity, social equality, and economic prosperity for all learners through challenging, hands-on, collaborative learning experiences.  The Public Leadership Academy is recognized by the National Academies Foundation (NAF) as a certified academy that has meet all requirements to reach the model threshold achievement. A NAF Academy that includes rigorous, industry-focused curricula, integrated industry partnerships, and work-based learning experiences.  The Academy prepares students for careers in law, government, and emergency management. the PLA is the first school in this initiative with 50 students enrolled. The students are past city champions in the Georgetown Mock Trial competition.  They are valedictorians, majority college bound and are student leaders in the building.  

Assistant Chief of the Youth and the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Family Engagement Bureau (YEFB), Pamela Wheeler-Taylor speaks to the student at Anacostia High School’s Public Leadership Academy about a life as a law enforcement officer.With the major challenges facing our society, our future will be defined by how leaders respond, Anacostia prepares students with the leadership skills they need to address those challenges today by putting social innovation at the forefront. Anacostia currently has a mentoring program for the young men (The Dream Team and Cutz & Conversation (former athletes and barbershop owners meet with our young men for haircuts and free ranging conversations) but not the young women.  ATF has developed a similar mentorship program for the young women covering topics from social media use, attire, interviewing skills and examining the relationships between the community and law enforcement.  

Community-Based Initiatives

Since 2004, ATF has engaged in public-private partnerships with nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Law Enforcement Exploring Organization, the Lighthouse Foundation of Philadelphia, PA and the Salvation Army - Kroc Center of Philadelphia, PA. We also support the annual Feds Feed Families national food drive. Our combined efforts help support communities in need and provide youth with life skills to help them avoid negative influences, avoid negative peer pressure, and set and achieve goals.

ATF is integral part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is a Department of Justice (DOJ) national gun-crime reduction initiative coordinated by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in 94 federal jurisdictions and 50 states and territories. Launched in 2001, PSN is a law enforcement program that assists community organizations with combating violent gun crimes. The program also provides grants to community organizations for initiatives that combat the gang and gun violence impacting our nation’s youth.

Interagency Partnerships

In 2021, ATF launched the Anti-Firearms Trafficking Campaign to combat firearms smuggling at the northern and southern U.S. borders. ATF continues to partner with the Department of Homeland Security on this strategic initiative. The campaign includes educating the public on the penalties for buying guns for prohibited individuals (known as “straw purchasing”) as well as the consequences of illegal gun smuggling.

Last Reviewed March 7, 2024