Mendenhall PD awarded state grant

By MARLAN JONES,

On July 2, the Mendenhall Board of Aldermen approved a request from the Mendenhall Police Department to pursue a Department of Public Safety Justice Assistance Grant for the purchase of new equipment. Police Chief Candy McCullum recently announced that the department was awarded the grant.

McCullum placed Sergeant Allen Moore in charge of the application process. Moore explained that the federally funded $5,000 JAG grant is issued once a year and departments have to specify the equipment that is needed. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control drug trafficking, drug related crime, and violent crime. Based on their own local needs and conditions, agencies are provided with the flexibility to prioritize and place justice funds where they are needed most.

JAG funds can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice.

Moore explained the department applied for three hand-held portable breathalyzers and an automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS).

The department will be able to make use of all the equipment, and the AFIS will save the department money down the road on supplies. The AFIS will replace the dated ink and paper method of taking fingerprints. AFIS uses digital imaging technology to obtain, store, and analyze fingerprints. Moore said this will speed up the booking process and help get officers back on the street faster to continue protecting the city.  It will improve the time it takes to identify individuals and help prevent false identification. Moore said the AFIS will be linked to the federal database Nation Criminal Investigation Center.

Moore commended the Department of Public Safety for their help in the process. He said, “I’m glad we were able to help the department.” Chief McCullum said the department will meet with the Department of Public Safety to move forward with the process Friday.

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