Blagojevich announced on Friday almost $340,000 for in-car police equipment for central Illinois. Many of our local departments got money (in city and stateland) including Bartonville and Chillicothe, which each got about $18,000, among the higher amounts. All together, the state received a $3.6 million grant, which it split throughout the state.
Law enforcement agencies big and small throughout central Illinois will receive about $340,000 in federal grants to help purchase or upgrade in-car computer equipment.
Allocated by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the funds were doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, the governor’s office announced on Friday.
In total, 35 area police agencies in 12 central Illinois counties will split $338,089. The money is part of a statewide $3.6 million grant divided among nearly 300 law enforcement agencies.
"It’s a pleasant surprise and it’s something we can definitely use," said Chillicothe Police Chief Steve Maurer, whose department will receive $17,524.
Maurer said the money likely will pay for three new computers, called mobile data terminals, that sit between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat in police vehicles.
The computers can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $7,000 apiece, Maurer said.
Mobile data terminals are essentially laptop computers that tap into a variety of government networks and information systems. From a license plate number or a driver’s name, an officer can pull up basic, updated information about the vehicle or the motorist without leaving the scene.
Authorities say the machines and the information they can retrieve are key to effective crime fighting.
Peoria Heights Police Chief Dustin Sutton said the computers share information swiftly between agencies, keeping officers informed about what’s happening beyond their own streets.
"The more agencies on this system, the better," said Sutton, whose force will receive $8,836.
The machine also alerts police of possible dangers, such as if the car they just stopped was reported stolen or whether the person they have in custody is wanted for any crimes. It also cuts down on trips to and from police stations to look up information and minimizes chatter with radio dispatchers.
"Number one, it’s an officer safety issue and number two, it keeps the officer on the streets," Morton Police Chief Nick Graff said. His department is slated to get $7,973, which Graff hopes will fetch two computers and their necessary software.
Nick Cavera, chief of police in Minonk, said the grant money is especially welcomed by smaller departments whose meager resources shrink their buying power.
Of the $5,691 the city will receive, Cavera said "It would take a couple of years to save the money in our budget."
Frank Radosevich II can be reached at (309) 686-3142 or email@example.com.
Federal grants, totalling $3.6 million for the state, will help law enforcement agencies buy in-car computer data equipment to improve access to records and boost officer safety. In the Tri-County Area, those receiving funds are...
Bartonville Police Department: $17,211
Chillicothe Police Department: $17,524
Glasford Police Department: $8,628
Peoria Police Department: $9,624
Peoria Heights Police Department: $8,836
Deer Creek Police Department: $8,775
Minier Police Department: $11,097
Morton Police Department: $7,973
Pekin Police Department: $3,184
El Paso Police Department: $8,444
Eureka Police Department: $3,713
Metamora Police Department: $3,655
Minonk Police Department: $5,691
Woodford County Sheriff's department: $6,364
Source: Office of Gov. Rod Blagojevich