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State Grants to Boost Police Technology

Thu, 05/23/2024 - 10:38
Christine Sampson

New York State has awarded a total of $127 million to county sheriffs and town and village police departments across the state, with thousands of dollars expected to land in the hands of police agencies here.

Over all, of that statewide pot of money, Gov. Kathy Hochul said last Thursday that 22 percent will go toward new license plate readers. Body cameras and patrol vehicle equipment will account for 20 percent, and public safety camera systems will make up 17 percent.

“Public safety is my top priority, and we are continuing to make record investments in law enforcement so they have the resources they need to protect our communities,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “By investing in the latest technology and equipment, we’re responding to the requests of law enforcement agencies as they look to safeguard the future of our state.”

The awards vary by the size of the department. East Hampton Town will receive $269,626 from the state, while East Hampton Village is slated to get $112,730. Sag Harbor Village will get $144,000.

Police chiefs in these three jurisdictions said the money will be used in ways consistent with Governor Hochul’s statement.

“We are very pleased to have received this funding from the state and will continue to improve and expand upon our license plate reader and camera technology for fixed locations, as well as in patrol vehicles,” said East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo, in an email last week.

Acting Chief Jeff Erickson of the East Hampton Village Police Department said the money will be used to reimburse the village administration after it laid out money in advance for new laptops and dashboard cameras in the squad cars. The department’s prior technology was obsolete, and the manufacturer has recently gone out of business, Chief Erickson noted.

He called these tools “a vital part of the operations of the police department. Those car computers are the lifeblood of the department — for incident reports, accidents, tickets — the police car is the office for the officers.”

The new equipment, he said, “will make the department more efficient and up to date. It was needed, and we’re extremely grateful to the governor for putting this grant together, because these items are very costly.”

In Sag Harbor, Police Chief Robert Drake said the grant money will go toward replacing older cameras and to install a couple of new ones, in Steinbeck Park and under the bridge to North Haven.

“We are very happy and appreciative of this grant,” Chief Drake said.

Also on the East End, according to the governor’s office, Southampton Town is slated to receive $50,000, while Southampton Village will receive $355,620. Southold Town will get $980,225; Shelter Island Town will get $35,862. Riverhead will receive the most of all East End townships, with $1.47 million on the way from the state.

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