Vancouver police, sheriff’s office to share federal grants

$115,197 will be used to upgrade technology

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

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Clark County and Vancouver will share federal grants of $115,197 to use for police technology upgrades, Jenny A. Durkan, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, said in a bulletin.

The money is part of more than $5 million given to the state by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs.

The lion’s share of the statewide grants are meant to help multiagency task forces as they “combat gang-related drug trafficking and violence,” the bulletin said.

About one-tenth is to support broader needs police departments have.

Vancouver police are to receive $63,358 for technology upgrades, and the sheriff’s office will receive $51,839, VPD spokeswoman Kim Kapp said last week.

The law-enforcement agencies can use the money over the next few years, Kapp added.

“From the smallest police departments to our largest task forces, these funds make a difference — picking up costs of technology and training to keep our officers well-equipped and ready to keep our communities safe,” Durkan said in the bulletin.

She added: “Whether it is for cameras in patrol cars, forensic equipment or training to recognize terrorist threats, these are carefully screened and important expenditures. At a time when law-enforcement agencies are struggling to meet needs because of budget cuts, these additional funds will help fill some gaps.”

No match required

In a staff report dated June 20, Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes had explained to city officials that accepting the grants has no disadvantage because they do not require a local funding match. City and county officials later approved an interlocal agreement about sharing the money.

Other cities in Washington received grants for such purposes as community policing, a traffic control unit, a firing range training system, services for victims, terrorism courses, radar units and portable breath testers.

In Cowlitz County and Longview, police will receive $16,794 to help pay for a school resource officer.

The bulletin continues: “The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants are named in honor of New York City Police Officer Edward R. Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 26, 1988. Officer Byrne was just 22 years old.”

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.