Sheriff’s office receives grant

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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Escambia County Commissioners heard good news on Monday as Sheriff Heath Jackson relayed details from a recently awarded grant for the sheriff’s office.

Jackson said his office had recently received a grant that would help upgrade an antiquated radio system in the county.

“The $1.2 million grant will help us be able to upgrade our radio systems that will help us and our volunteer fire departments,” Jackson said. “Right now we have an antiquated system that if it breaks, we can’t get the parts to fix it. Our system was on borrowed time. The new system has the ability to have add-ons down the road and will be better for serving our community. We are making good steps.”

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The grant came last week when Rep. Jerry Carl presented the grant for $1,204.277.52 to Jackson in Washington, D.C.

According to officials, the grant will allow for tower and equipment upgrades to the agency’s communications. It will upgrade to digitally encrypted P25 equipment, similar to systems utilized in neighboring Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida.

According to Carl’s office, the radios will “assist first responders in performing their job more efficiently and safely and to deliver an inbound and outbound communication structure to Escambia County, which will tie the East end of Escambia County to an already structured West end of the county, thus closing the gap in radio communications.”

Jackson offered his thanks to Carl and to Sen. Katie Britt for their work in pushing the grant through reaching his office.

In other business, the commission:

• approved an agreement with PH&J Architects to renovate/repair a private attorney/inmate conference area inside the Escambia County Courthouse in Brewton;

• approved a technical assistance agreement with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs;

• approved the adoption of the annual ad valorem tax levy;

• approved the adoption of the alcoholic beverage license fees for fiscal year 2024;

• approved the awarding of a bid for recycled asphalt pavement for Fiscal year 2022/23;

• approved a settlement in an Opiod Crisis Class Action that includes Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s and other entities. County Administrator Tony Sanks said an actual dollar figure on the settlement will be made known following approval from several government members in the lawsuit;

• approved the recension of a Covid-related resolution set by the commission in March 2020 regarding pay for employees during times of shut-down in the county.