Georgiana gets grant for new police car

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A $15,000 grant from Gov. Bob Riley now enables the City of Georgiana to purchase a new patrol car for the city’s police department.

&uot;Law enforcement officers need safe, reliable vehicles to adequately protect and serve their communities,&uot; Riley said.

&uot;I support the efforts of the Georgiana Police Department to improve the protection of residents.&uot;

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

He has designated the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to administer the grant.

ADECA Director John Harrison notified Mayor Lynn Watson that the grant had been approved.

According to Chief James Blackmon, the department currently uses older patrol vehicles that have become less reliable.

He said a new unit will ensure swift and satisfactory response to emergency calls and enable officers to better carry out their duties.

The car also will reduce maintenance costs while allowing increased patrols.

The money will be used to purchase a new vehicle, which is different from last year when the department received a similar grant.

&uot;Last year, we used the grant to buy two used, low mileage cars from the federal government,&uot; he said.

&uot;These are cars that ADECA’s police division purchase from the federal government.&uot;

Blackmon said this year they will purchase a new vehicle.

&uot;We can purchase a completely stripped down new model for between $19,000 to $21,000,&uot; he said. &uot;The blue lights, radio and cages, we have that equipment and it is in good shape, so we don’t need a fully decked out car.&uot;

A complete police package sedan can run as much as $27,000.

Blackmon said the city of Georgiana has agreed to provide 10 percent in matching funds totaling $1,666.

Right now the oldest car in the department’s fleet is a 1999 model.

Blackmon said it is still in good shape and has no mechanical problems. Unlike other departments in the area, Blackmon’s officers do not drive their vehicles home and he has one to two officers assigned to each car.

&uot;Several of my officers live out of town so they can’t drive the cars home,&uot; he said.

The GaPD now has eight full time officers and two part-time officers.

Blackmon expressed his gratitude to the governor and also ADECA for the grant.

&uot;We really appreciate the help we receive form state and federal government, ADECA in particular,&uot; he said.

&uot;This puts our fleet in really good shape and that helps make Georgiana safer.&uot;