Brattleboro Police hopes to extend its services with grant
By PATRICK J. CROWLEY, Reformer Staff
Tuesday, August 14
BRATTLEBORO -- With a $15,628 grant, the Brattleboro Police Department hopes it can carry on with police work that has recently been limited due to lack of funding.
The funding, awarded to the department through a U.S. Department of Justice program, will be used in four different areas.
"These are the types of grants that really allow us to do many things that we otherwise wouldn't be able to fund," Chief John Martin said.
To train officers in the use of new laser speed enforcement technology, $2,500 will be used for instruction of the equipment.
Martin explained that while the technology is more accurate, faster, more dependable, has a greater range and works better with multiple vehicles, not all officers in the department know how to use the two units the department currently has.
"We want to make sure that the training is consistent with all users," Martin said.
A second area where the grant will be applied is with overtime for drug and traffic enforcement. Currently, Martin said, patrol officers can not spend the time needed to work drug investigations or traffic enforcement since the department's call volume often pulls them
away from those specialty fields.
With $7,000 from the grant, the department would be able to pay officers the overtime needed to work in those areas.
"There is no overtime budgeted for directed patrols in these areas and our command staff strongly feels that targeted enforcement is essential to the safety of the community," the grant application reads.
Another area where the funds will be used is to address recent concerns regarding graffitti in the downtown area. Of the $628 intended for graffitti removal, Martin said they intend to purchase solvents and paints to either remove graffitti or cover it with murals such as the one in the Harmony parking lot.
Finally, the department's Special Reaction Team, which does not currently have any clothing for cold or foul weather, will get some funding to provide updated clothing and equipment the team can use outside either in the winter months or in bad weather.
Right now the team, Martin said, is using a great deal of outdated and well-used items like military surplus.
Available from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program supports a "broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system," according to Department of Justice Web site.
A law enforcement agency is notified of the amount they are awarded through the program. Then, it must submit to the program how the funds will be used.
With the grant, Martin said the department will be able to continue to support the work its officers put in. These types of grants, he said, "are critical to maintain the level of service we're accustomed to giving."
Patrick J. Crowley can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277