03/15/09 — Sheriff's Office, GPD get $272K in grants

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Sheriff's Office, GPD get $272K in grants

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 15, 2009 2:00 AM

The Goldsboro Police Department and Wayne County Sheriff's Office could be receiving more than $270,000 through the Bryne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) formula grant program.

The city is projected to receive $181,427 and the Sheriff's Office $90,432.

Goldsboro Chief of Police Tim Bell said his department would use the money to purchase new digital cameras for the city's police vehicles.

Sheriff Carey Winders said his office is not yet sure where the money will be used.

JAG was created by Congress in 2004 to streamline justice funding and grant administration. It is a partnership among federal, state and local governments to create safer communities. JAG allows states, tribes, and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based on their own local needs and conditions.

Grants may be used to provide personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance and information system for more widespread apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, detention and rehabilitation of offenders.

The funds also might be used to provide assistance, other than compensation, to victims.

It is a joint grant between the police department and Sheriff's Office that is prepared by the police department, Bell said.

"It is still a little bit premature," Bell said." Based on past histories, it will be May or June before the city is told to submit the paperwork."

Last year, the two departments split between $4,000 to $5,000, Bell said. The money was used to help purchase radios.

"We will prepare the grant when we hear it is open," Bell said. "The new amounts are quite a difference. We are getting excited about it. We will really get excited when they tell us to do the paperwork and get it in."

Bell said his department want to upgrade the camera systems in police vehicles to a digital system.

He estimated it would cost between $250,000 to $260,000 to replace all of the cameras.

The current system used VHS tapes and the switch to digital would allow the recordings to be stored in servers, he said.

According to Congressman G.K. Butterfield the federal stimulus package directs more than $2.7 million into policing efforts across his district.

"Local law enforcement has certainly felt the squeeze of tightening state and local budget problems," Butterfield said. "This funding will help bridge some of the gaps and keep police officers on the job."

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included a total of $4 billion for state and local law enforcement. The largest portion -- $2 billion -- was set aside for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) formula grant program. Additionally, $225 million was also set aside for Byrne competitive grants.

Butterfield said North Carolina will receive more than $56.3 million in formula funding.