Task force, sheriff earn grants

Published 7:57 pm Sunday, November 19, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Two Escambia County agencies will see their coffers take a leap forward following the announcement of a $245,000 grant that will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs made available by the U.S. Justice Department.
The 21st Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force will receive the largest portion of the grant in the amount of $145,000. Monies dispersed to the unit will be used to aid in their investigations, arrests and prosecution of drug offenders in Escambia County.
The remaining $100,000 in grant money has been earmarked to be used by the Escambia County Sheriff's Department for the purpose of equipment purchases to help ensure safety of citizens in the event of a hurricane or other disaster.
In a meeting of the Escambia County Sheriff's and Emergency Management team earlier this summer, Sheriff Grover Smith discussed that purchasing generators would be a top priority of the grant money came through as hoped.
Smith also said that there are more than a half million residents south of the state line that evacuate through the county when a storm heads this way.
Funds from the grant may also be used to purchase equipment and supplies needed by personnel.
Planned purchases for the department include four generators which will power operations centers and allow radio repeaters to be powered during outages as well as a portable light source that can be used during search and rescue missions or to light up a major intersection that may be dark due to power failures.
Gov. Bob Riley made the announcement of the grants last week, saying the funds will be used to help both departments respond more effectively in their jobs.
The 21st Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force combines the resources of the district attorney's office, the county sheriff's department and the police departments of Brewton, East Brewton, Flomaton and Atmore.
Working with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the unit disrupts drug organizations operating in the county and helps to coordinates data and information between agencies. The unit also works toward prosecuting sellers and users of drugs.
According to information released from Riley's office, $27,222 in matching funds from the county will be used the supplement the awards.

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