The Warren City Police Department got a pair of pleasant surprises this week.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey announced that the police department was the recipient of an $18,638 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, to be used toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
On Thursday, Warren Chief of Police Raymond Zydonik said that the city's police force received a second grant from the Department of Justice totaling $76,930.
‘...We want to bring multiple agencies together to do some record sharing.’
"We've been told we'd be receiving that," Zydonik said. "We submitted the paperwork and are awaiting the final receipt of the funds."
Both allocations are from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. There are no match requirements for either grant.
Edward Byrne was a New York City police officer who was shot and killed in the line up duty in February 1988 while protecting a court witness. In honor of Byrne, the Justice Department established the JAG program in his name. The program allows state and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime, and to improve the justice system.
According to Zydonik, the $18,636 isn't enough funding to purchase a new vehicle for the department, but would offset a large amount of the cost.
The police department's new Dodge Charger cruisers cost approximately $25,000 each.
Zydonik said that Warren County officials have applied for two large grants that might be used as a funding source to defray the remainder of the cost of a new car, if approved.
Zydonik said no decision has been made whether to put an additional cruiser in service with the money or replace one of the police department's older vehicles.
As for the second grant of $76,930, it will be used to make technological upgrades in the department, including a new electronic records management system and mobile data terminals in police vehicles.
"We want to bring multiple agencies together to do some record sharing," Zydonik said. "It's going to take a cooperative effort on the part of the county. Right now there is no 'real time' sharing of information. We use the phone or fax. There is no connectivity that shares data or converts it."
The multiple agencies would include the Warren County Sheriff's Department, along with the county's various municipal police departments.