Southampton gets $25K federal grant for police equipment

Published 8:12 am Friday, June 25, 2010

COURTLAND—Southampton County has been awarded more than $25,000 in federal stimulus money for equipment that will be used in crime prevention.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Southampton was one of 16 municipalities to receive a $25,114 share of more than $300,000 from the Justice Assistance Grant program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This funding will play an important role in helping local communities address their criminal justice challenges,” Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson said in a written statement. “These funds will help our partners fight crime and build safer communities.”

According to the grant application, the county plans to purchase 20 digital cameras with cases at a cost of $125 each for Southampton County Sheriff’s Office detectives to use for crime scene photographs. The county also will buy 10 video recorders at $900 each for recording traffic stops as possible evidence in court.

Other purchases will include 20 in-car gun racks at $400 each to secure weapons in officers’ vehicles, 15 push bumpers at $200 apiece to allow deputies to clear disabled vehicles from the road and $2,614 for tactical holsters and uniforms for the Critical Response Team.

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson said the county was grateful for the funds and that the money would be put to good use.

Sheriff Vernie Francis could not be reached for comment.

The grant money is allocated based on the population and violent crime statistics of a municipality. Two other Virginia jurisdictions, Surry County and the Town of South Hill, received $16,489 and $19,786 in funding, respectively.