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Last updateWed, 22 Oct 2014 10pm

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Alachua Police Department gets grant for riot gear

ALACHUA –The Alachua Police Department (APD) received a grant to purchase riot gear.

The APD got $1,607 from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant through the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for riot shields and helmets.

The Alachua City Commission approved the grant at their Monday, Feb. 10 meeting.

It’s better to have the gear and not need it than need it and not have it, said Jesse Sandusky, public information officer for the APD.

“We’re not expecting anything to happen, but it is equipment we have that we wouldn’t normally be able to afford,” he said. “You have to be prepared.”

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant was set up by the DoJ in honor of a New York police officer who was killed on the job. The grant helps agencies get necessary equipment and pay officers overtime for operations they are conducting, Sandusky said.

Funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant will also help the APD purchase four radar units. The money approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, through which the funds are channeled, totaled $12,944.

The radars will be equipped in police cars to track speeders, Sandusky said. Currently, there aren’t enough to go around and equip every car in the fleet with one.

The funds come from the federal government and are funneled through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which then allocates it throughout Florida’s counties, according to an email sent by Alachua Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari.

Several agencies throughout the state will get funding for their law enforcement needs, Sandusky said. Without the money, it would be difficult for some smaller departments to stay fully equipped.

“Things become more expensive every year,” he said.