The city of Portsmouth is in the process of accepting two Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Office of Criminal Justice Services for use by the Portsmouth Police Department. One is for the purchase of in-car cameras and the other for the Drug Task Force.
The city has been awarded a state grant in the amount of $39,212.50 for the year 2017 to purchase in-car camera equipment. The city is required to match funds by providing an additional $13,070,83. A dedicated account has to be established for grant financial tracking purposes and the total amount to be expended will come to $52,283.33.
Another grant in the amount of $25,000 for 2017 is to provide confidential funds to the Task Force. The city is required to match those funds with an additional $8,334. The fund, which is titled ‘Fund 217’ will show a total of $33,334 to be expended.
“The grant funds allow us to continue to improve the operational efficiency of the department without relying solely on general fund monies,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “The first grant allows us to resume outfitting our vehicles with in-car video capability, a project that was put on hold when the city was facing severe budgetary constraints. The second grant provides funding for operations and equipment for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force.”
In 2016, the city purchased five new marked cruisers. The old cruisers will be stripped of radio equipment, light bars and all markings and then sold at public auction, though they are not expected to bring a large amount of revenue. Meanwhile, the Portsmouth Police Department has requested that one car not be auctioned off, and instead be donated to the Scioto County Career Technical Center (SCCTC) for use by their criminal justice program.
The vehicle has a rusted out floorboard on the front passenger side and the SCCTC will have the auto body class at the school weld a new floor in its place.
“Many local law enforcement officers received their initial training at the SCCTC. The vehicle has reached the end of its useful service life as an active police vehicle,” Ware said. “By donating this vehicle to the center, it gives the training staff another tool to provide effective instruction to perspective peace officers for the demands of the law enforcement profession through scenario based opportunities.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.