Through a Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant, Police Chief Jeremy Stevens applied for funding to assist the city with the purchase of a new police car and equipment to outfit it, including camera systems for the new car and two others.
The $32,260 grant provided the entire funding for the 2011 Dodge Charger, which cost $26,000, with the balance being utilized for in-car camera equipment.
The video equipment has already been useful in several cases. It allows officers to record traffic stops and arrests with very good clarity. The cameras were installed in all three full time officers' cars including the new Charger.
Besides the car grant, Stevens applied for a Hummer to be used by the department. The vehicle was obtained as part of a military surplus program through the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO). In addition to the military vehicle, the Highland Police Deparment also received several firearms, including three M16's, 1 M14, and three 1911 45 caliber pistols. All full time officers were issued the rifle and pistols. The M14 will be utilized as the department weapon in the event a need for the firearm arises.
"The 1033 Federal surplus program, as it is called, allows agencies that have law enforcement powers to obtain surplus items, such as the Hummer." Tim Hicks, of the LESO office said.
The program gives the Secretary of Defense power to transfer, without charge, excess U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) property, including supplies and equipment, to state and local law enforcement agencies.
The 1033 Program has allowed law enforcement agencies to acquire vehicles from land, air and sea; weapons; computer equipment; body armor; fingerprint equipment; night vision equipment; radios and televisions; first aid equipment; tents; sleeping bags; and photographic equipment.
Hicks said, although the agency pays a fee for the vehicle, it is actually an acquisition fee from the state in which the equipment or vehicle was obtained.
Through the program, those obtaining the equipment can not sell the property if they no longer need it, but can transfer or share it with other law enforcement entities.
The department will use the Hummer where patrol cars may not be able to gain access to certain areas, such as wooded or rough terrain. The vehicle came from Camp Robinson in Little Rock.
Mayor Richard Smith praised Stevens for applying and receiving the grants. He said he trusted his chief to obtain the grants and allowed him the freedom to apply, which gave Stevens valuble experience in grant writing.
Stevens said, "This is much needed equipment and will be a major asset to our department."