Grants to benefit Jackson police, fire

Friday, October 1, 2004

Three recently awarded grants will be used toward making Jackson a safer place to live. Two of the grants are from the Department of Homeland Security.

The city of Jackson was awarded a grant of $62,486 to upgrade radios and to increase security in the fire and police departments and at water department locations, said fire chief Brad Golden. The money will also enhance equipment at the police and fire departments.

"What we will be doing is getting personal protection equipment," Golden said. "The fire department will get a portion of that which will be used to upgrade our radio system; the police the same way."

Police chief James Humphreys said the police department received $40,000 as part of the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Grant through the Department of Homeland Security.

That money, which like the other grant does not have to be matched, will be used to buy equipment to enhance the department's training and preparedness through its association with Sikeston, Mo., in the Semo Haz Mat Team, one of 28 teams across the state formed through the state Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

The equipment and training will prepare police and firefighters for any type of terrorist attack, but will not be limited to that.

"It can be used for any type of violent situations that we need to use the special team for," Humphreys said. "We're pretty excited about it."

In addition, through the Justice Department's bullet proof vest program, the police department was awarded a matching grant in the amount of $5,580 to buy bullet proof vests for the police officers. The city will match the funds in a 50/50 split.

"We're going to buy some of the latest and best vests we can buy with this money," Humphreys said.

The Jackson Police Department has until 2008 to spend the funds. Humphreys said he plans to buy vests on an as-needed basis instead of buying all the vests at once. Some officers already have new vests that don't need to be replaced.

"We'll start with the guys who need them the most and work from there," he said.

Humphreys said he is also currently working on a block grant application for local law enforcement agencies to buy surveillance and investigative equipment and officer safety equipment.

335-6611, extension 160

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