A shot in the dark: Grant funds infrared camera for APD

Published 9:50 am Monday, June 6, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Atmore public safety departments will have one more piece of equipment to assure its residents' safety.
United States Sen. Richard Shelby recently announced that the Atmore Police Department was the recipient of a $14,620 grant as a part of Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Programs (CEDAP) throughout Alabama. More than $163,000 in grant money was awarded to police, fire, rescue and emergency management agencies across the state.
"Anything that doesn't cost the department anything is very appreciative," Atmore Police Department Chief Jason Dean said. "We are pleased to receive this grant from Sen. Shelby's office. Anything like this is well received and most useful."
The grant will pay for a Search Camera Victim Locator System, which is a single-operator system for victim location and assessment. The audio and video components have been integrated to operate on a continuous basis in the demanding conditions of a disaster setting.
"I am pleased to announce over $163,000 for Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Programs across Alabama," Sen. Shelby said in a prepared statement. "It is important that we work to ensure law enforcement and first responders have the necessary knowledge and equipment to keep Alabama's communities safe."
Atmore Director of Public Safety Glenn Carlee applied for the grant about a month ago and is also excited about the news.
"I think it's a good asset for both departments, so we can share between the two agencies," he said. "It will be a big help to us when Jason (Dean) gets back and shows us how to work it."
Carlee said the new Search Camera Victim Locator System will not only be beneficial to the police department, but the Atmore Fire and Rescue Department as well.
"It works off an infrared system that will help the police and the fire department," he said. "It will help the fire department in searching for victims in a house and it will help the police department in executing search warrants, so we know if the house is occupied before we make entry into it or if someone is hiding."
The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program recognizes the importance of new equipment education and training, not only for users, but also to ensure proper operation and deployment of the equipment. Attendance at a training session is required prior to receipt of the equipment. Chief Dean will attend an eight-hour training session in Washington, D.C. on June 16 to learn how to operate the camera properly. He will depart for Washington on June 15 and return on June 18.
"They're pushing the training issue rather than just sending the equipment out and it not being properly used," Carlee said. "They want everybody trained before they send them their equipment. When he (Chief Dean) completes the training, they will ship the equipment behind him."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had a list of equipment options for grant writers to choose from as part of the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program. He said the camera would benefit the city greatly.
"It was the most feasible for our needs," Carlee said.

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