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How YPD will spend nearly $10 million in federal funding

The Yuma Police Department has received nearly $10 million in long-awaited federal funding, and Chief Tom Garrity explained how the agency is spending the grants from the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

The agency received almost $9.3 million for equipment and supplies used in border security operations and a $500,000 anti-human trafficking grant for supplies and training to be used in collaboration with Amberly’s Place and the Sheriff’s Office.

The department is allowed to use the border security funds for personnel and fringe benefit costs, travel for education and other intelligence training equipment.

It covers office supplies, outreach and education and small equipment such as laptops, computers and radios as well as vehicle maintenance and contract services.

YPD first received a letter notifying them of the two grants in July. “We finally got the award for the border funding in August of this year, and then in September, we got the anti-human trafficking fund program,” Garrity explained.

Both types of funding are reimbursement grants, with the border security funds covering five years of expenses and the anti-human trafficking funds covering three years of expenses, both backdated to October 2022.

With the border security funds, the department will buy 25 patrol vehicles over five years, with five a year, 60 portable radios and a tethered drone attached to a vehicle.

“It’s almost like another trailer camera that we can park somewhere,” Garrity noted.

The funds will also buy 25 night vision headsets, five vehicles for the Investigations Division and two four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles.

“That is to go out in the desert, which we’ll be able to use now that we also are part of the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program, so we may be spending a lot more time out in the desert doing that,” Garrity said.

The department will use $3.4 million to cover five years of upgrades and licensing of the P25 System, an interoperable land mobile radio system used by the Yuma Regional Communications System so emergency responders can exchange critical communications across agencies and jurisdictions.

Other equipment to be covered with the funds are forensic and mobile communications technology; body worn camera hardware, software and licensing support; and a Watch Tower, which is a trailer camera “that we can move from spot to spot so if we’re having MATO (Midnight at the Oasis Car Show), if we’re having Tacos and Tunes (festival), this just gives us the ability to look over the crowd, to be able to see what’s going on,” Garrity said.

The department will also buy a second 3D laser scanner to allow crime and crash scene investigators to scan the entire area at once, instead of measuring everything separately.

“With two of them, we’re able to do it in half the time, so we’re able to keep roads open and able to process crime scenes faster. We are the only one here in the Yuma region that has one, and so we do go to Somerton, we do help the Sheriff’s Office, and we do go to San Luis to do that,” the chief noted.

As for supplies, the department will buy six night vision scopes and 25 night vision sites, 10 major crime scene digital cameras, 200 first aid kits and 50 mobile ID units. A first aid kit will go to every officer on patrol “so when they come across anybody that needs medical care, they can immediately start doing that while waiting for the fire services to get there, and a lot of times that is life saving,” he said.

The mobile ID units are for getting fingerprint identification when officers “come across somebody they don’t know who they are, it might be an unknown person. We’re able to fingerprint them and that’s going to tell us who they are, if they’ve been arrested.”

In addition, the department will acquire 200 phones to be given to all personnel as backup to the mobile radios. “It’s also going to save the city money in that they’re not going to have to give stipends for phones,” Garrity explained.

With the anti-human trafficking grant, the department will spend $86,400 for billboard ads, pamphlets and radio and TV commercials to raise awareness and about $20,000 on outreach and promotional items.

About $400,000 will be used for anti-human trafficking training for law enforcement personnel.

“We run across people every day. There are signs that we need to know that somebody is in trouble, and this just helps reinforce what those signs are, and we’re able to get them the help that they need, to get them to the right resources that are needed to prevent them from becoming further victimized,” Garrity said.

The department will send 10 officers a year for three years to anti-human trafficking conferences “and not have to spend any of the funds from the county or the city or from Amberly’s Place to go to this training.”

The officers will also receive training in interviewing victims. “It’s a specific type of interview,” Garrity said. “This is a soft interview. This is more of a forensic type interview…because a lot of times the victims don’t want to tell you because they are victimized, they’re afraid, and this is what helps us do that,” he added.

In addition, the grant will cover forensic services software training for eight investigators over three years.

“That’s a lot of money to be spent,” Garrity noted. “And it’s federal money so that’s always better.”

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