Coon Rapids seeking police equipment federal grant

The Coon Rapids Police Department is seeking a federal grant to purchase equipment.

The department has applied for a 2013 Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant totaling $15,804 from the U.S. Department of Justice.

As part of the federal requirements, the Coon Rapids City Council conducted a public hearing July 16 at which no one appeared, but did not have to take any action to approve the application.

“The Department of Justice funds the JAG grant program with the specific purpose of helping communities address crime by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of criminal justice systems, processes and procedures,” said Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise.

According to Wise, if the grant is awarded, the money would be used to purchase training ammunition, two ballistic shields, 10 digital cameras, two preliminary breath test kits and a portable, pole mounted speed reader capable of data collection and analysis.

The speed reader will record vehicle speeds, not license plates, said Capt. John Hattstrom.

It will replace the current speed trailer and will be more efficient and easier to haul around, he said.

According to Hattstrom, the department has been receiving this grant on an annual basis and it has been invited by the justice department to apply in the current grant cycle.

“It enables us to purchase training needs and equipment that we have to go without because of budget constraints,” Hattstrom said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.

The JAG program provides states and units of local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas.

These include law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, and planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs, the  U.S. Department of Justice website states.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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