20 Wash. law enforcement agencies receive grants

Seattle police received the single largest local grant of $259K

By Christine Clarridge 
Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Twenty law-enforcement agencies in Western Washington will benefit from $1 million in Department of Justice grants awarded on Tuesday.

The money will be used for a range of purposes, from buying ballistic vests and stun guns to updating crime-analysis software and communications systems to hiring school-resource officers, according to U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants — which were named in honor of a 22-year-old New York City police officer who was killed in the line of duty 17 years ago — are intended to support law-enforcement efforts to prevent and control crime, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ.)

“To be awarded these grants each agency successfully showed how the funding will improve officer safety and the safety of the community,” Hayes said.

The Seattle Police Department received the single largest local grant of $259,859, which will be used to hire three civilian crime-prevention coordinators, the police department said.

“This is very exciting news for us,” said Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. “Chief (Kathleen) O’Toole has always said that prevention, intervention and enforcement are the keys to a safe and vibrant city. Crime-prevention coordinators are the conduits of information between neighborhoods and the precincts and this fills a very important gap.”

The Federal Way Police Department was awarded $26,524 to purchase stun guns, a police dog and multimedia-computer storage, according to police.

Federal Way police say the additional computer storage will allow police to improve efficiency and give officers more time in the field.

A grant of $13,548 awarded to the Bellevue Police Department will be used to purchase of video-synopsis software and a stand-alone laptop computer with a high-speed processor. Spokesman Seth Tyler said the grant will allow the department to purchase computer equipment that can download surveillance footage and then choose specific elements that the computer will “look” for, such as a green truck or a person in a red shirt.

“The system is then able to immediately search through the video file, using the specified parameters, and provides only the ‘hits’ that match the parameters that were put into the system,” Tyler said. “This allows our officers and detectives to search through hours of surveillance video in a much shorter amount of time, and in cases where time is of the essence, allows us to obtain video evidence more quickly than having to physically view the entire video.”

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will use its $24,786 grant to buy a computer system to image, process and analyze digital devices and software that is able to process the types of cellular devices most commonly submitted to the lab for analysis, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Together, they will help investigators recover evidence from hard drives and cellular devices.

“Limited local resources mean the DOJ grant program is a critical component for our agency to secure funding for technology solutions that might otherwise be unattainable to our detectives,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton on Tuesday.

The other agencies awarded Byrne grants:

• Marysville police will receive $11,401 for the department to purchase one stun gun, a new portable breath tester and three new radios.

• Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office: $14,655 to purchase ballistic vests.

• Bellingham: $21,213 for crime-mapping tools to predict where crime will strike next.

• Bremerton: $23,081 to partially fund a community-resource specialist.

• Renton: $26,587 to fund the Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Program.

• Everett police will get $45,048 to purchase hardware, software and licensing for a scheduling and pay system.

Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said the new system is an administrative program “that helps the agency by improving internal efficiency with our scheduling and pay systems.”

The DOJ said that in addition to the local grants, Washington state will receive $3.2 million to fund various multijurisdictional task forces focused on drug trafficking and criminal gangs, including a number of such task forces on the west side of the Cascades.

Copyright 2015 Seattle Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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