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County to match defense funds

The Covington County Sheriff's Department will soon have new support in its fight against crime in the county, thanks to Gov. Bob Riley.

Riley recently awarded $20,000 to the Covington County Commission to purchase new video equipment for the sheriff's department.

Local matching funds of $2,222 have been committed to the purchase of the equipment

Riley said he is glad to be able to support law enforcement in Covington County in this manner.

"Law enforcement officers need safe, reliable vehicles to adequately protect and serve their communities," said Riley. "I am pleased to provide these funds to increase protection for Covington County residents."

The new equipment is being purchased in an effort to allow Sheriff's Department officials a method of responding more quickly to emergencies, and the added transportation will allow more patrols of schools and communities

Capt. Rob Arnett of the Sheriff's Department said he feels the new equipment will be a big help.

"I think the (equipment) will be extremely valuable," said Arnett. "In some court cases now video testimony is important as sometimes a little more than oral testimony is required. The equipment will ensure the professionalism of our officers, it can be used at traffic stops and with complaints. It is a tool that can be used in civil lawsuits and we appreciate any help we can get in terms of equipment."

Arnett said the grant should help secure the purchase of around seven cameras, which are about $3,000 each.

Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White said he is appreciative of the financial help.

"The Sheriff's Department has decided that the money will be spent on new video equipment for current vehicles," said White. "We appreciate the financial assistance because we know funds are limited right now. The new equipment will ensure safety of the officers and will also help the officers to build stronger cases. We are pleased with the help that (Riley's office and ADECA) have given to us."

John Harrison of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) notified White, that the grant had been approved.

The grant was awarded from funds made available to the state through a program of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The grant will be administered by ADECA's Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division.