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Grant provides radios, equipment for police officers

Date: 9/7/2010

Sept. 8, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- A $267,000 grant from the Department of Justice will take the burden off of taxpayers to pay for needed equipment for the Police Department, Police Com-missioner William Fitchet explained at a press conference on Thursday.

Fitchet credited Brian Elliot, who writes grant applications for the department, for pursuing the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and said in the last two years there have been $2 million in grant funding coming to the department.

"Mayor [Domenic] Sarno gave me a directive to chase the money," Fitchet said. "Money is hard to get and you've got to be on your game to get it."

The funding will pay for 61 new personal radios used by officers; purchase equipment for the city's police academy and pay for 25 computer workstations.

He explained the radios have a "certain life span" and repairs cost more than replacing them. The new radios are an upgrade from what officers are now using and cost $1,000 each.

Both Sarno and Congressman Richard Neal, who attended the press conference, praised Fitchet's use of technology in the department.

"Fitchet, rightfully so, has embraced the technology," Sarno said.

Fitchet noted the grant that was award is named after a 22-year-old police officer who was gunned down while protecting a witness in 1988