Local police to get grants
Thursday, April 09, 2009
By Moriah Balingit, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After many police agencies were forced to tighten their belts, local departments large and small are getting a boost from federal stimulus funds.
Allegheny County is eligible for $3.2 million in Justice Assistance Grant money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. About $1.1 million will go to 33 suburban police departments and $2.1 million is for the Pittsburgh police. Eligibility is based on a formula that takes into account a municipality's population and crime rate, among other things.
The list of municipalities and their individual allocations was released this month, after President Barack Obama announced a $2 billion-plus investment in law enforcement nationally through the stimulus package.
Local police chiefs, who must apply for the money, are putting together wish lists of equipment they'd like to purchase with the grants. Some departments are planning to use the money to cover routine costs, such as leases on cars. Shaler and Tarentum are two northern police forces in line for grants.
In Tarentum, the 12-officer department is getting $15,483 that Chief Bill Vakulick said he expects to spend on a speed-timing device called the electronic non-radar device, or ENRADD.
The device shoots two laser beams across a road and records the time a car passes through each beam to calculate the car's speed. The chief said he'd also like to replace the department's 5-year-old desktop computers. With any leftover money, he'd purchase backup portable radios, which the department currently lacks.
Shaler Police Department will receive $12,581, which Chief Jeff Gally said will be spent replacing weapons, including handguns, rifles and ammunition, for the department's 27 officers.
The current stock is pushing 10 years old. Ideally he would like to replace weapons every eight to 10 years.
Moriah Balingit can be reached at mbalingit@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2533.
First published on April 9, 2009 at 5:38 am