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Story Archives: Concordia agenices awarded $407,765 in grant funding
|Concordia agenices awarded $407,765 in grant funding|
More than $400,000 will be funneled into Concordia Parish law enforcement and judicial agencies in the coming weeks through the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement (LCLE).
The $407,765 is derived from the federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the nation's economic recovery plan approved by Congress in February.
According to Concordia Sheriff Randy Maxwell, who serves on the LCLE's Board of Directors, sheriffs' offices around the state will be receiving a total of $6 million through the Recovery Act, state police departments will receive $4.5 million total, district attorneys offices another $1.7 million, courts will gain $1.2 million and crime labs approximately $250,000.
In Concordia Parish, the Vidalia Police Department will receive $96,524 and the Ferriday Police Department will be awarded $64,241. The Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office will receive $181,000 and the District Attorney's Office will receive $60,000.
"This is a huge windfall for the criminal justice system in Concordia Parish," Maxwell added. "We are very, very thankful for all of this and it will certainly be put to good use."
The Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office will receive $156,081, while the Tensas Parish Sheriff's Office will be awarded $94,000.
Maxwell noted that 49 sheriffs' offices in the state were awarded funding, and 53 police departments. He said the grant requests from around the state far exceeded available funding, which necessitated a lot of downsizing of grant proposals.
"This was a very lengthy process," he said, not only of the process of setting of the grant guidelines, but studying and verifying each of the hundreds of proposals submitted from around the state. "It was the LCLE's ultimate goal to be both accountable and fair to everyone."
The CPSO's funds are primarily designated for the purchase of a new search and rescue boat, Maxwell stated, along with computers and software aimed at integrating and linking offices throughout the courthouse that handle criminal cases in order to track each criminal case from beginning to end.
The Vidalia Police Departments grant funds will be designated for new patrol units equipped with video capabilities and computer laptops, according to Chief Ronnie "Tapper" Hendricks. He also plans to use the funds to complete the project to place surveillance cameras at the city traffic signals.
"This is an absolute blessing to our department," Hendricks said. "We're very excited and very blessed. This was a team effort," he said of the grant writing process, which was spearheaded by Dwayne Carlock.
Police Chief Kenneth Hedrick with the Ferriday Police Department enthusiastically reiterated the Vidalia police chief's feelings: "What a blessing," he said of the grant announcement.
Hedrick said he plans to use the funding for much needed office equipment, along with bulletproof vests for his patrol officers, and for a new patrol unit.
"This money is both greatly needed and greatly appreciated by our department," he added. "We are extremely grateful for the opportunities this affords the Ferriday Police Department."
District Attorney Brad Burget indicated that his office's funding would be funneled down through the LCLE and again through the state District Attorneys Association before actually reaching his office.
Burget said his windfall is targeted toward a computerized case management system for his offices in Concordia and Catahoula -- a system that will be an enormous improvement over the current practice that relies on a handwritten court schedule and hard copy files and notes.
The District Attorney said he is extremely pleased to be receiving the funds that are destined to greatly increase the efficiency of his office, both in service to the public and in regard to better preparation of all of the prosecutors.
The new system will allow case information to be typed in immediately from the courtroom and will further allow Burget and his assistants to have immediate case information retrieval right at their fingertips. He noted that his office is one of the few DA's offices in the entire state that does not have a computerized case system -- a situation that put his office at the top of the funding list for district attorneys' offices.
He too noted that he is hoping to integrate this new system with the local clerk's, judges' and sheriff's offices so all may share certain information concerning criminal cases.
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