The Washington Island Police Department and Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department are among 68 small police and sheriff departments across the state to receive a share of $300,000 in Byrne Justice Assistance grant funds from the state Office of Justice Assistance.
The Smaller Police Agency Crime Initiative (SPACI) grants will help improve officer and public safety, improve communication capacity between departments, and improve officer efficiency.
The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department received $6,788 for the 2012 Kewaunee County Crime Initiative.
The Washington Island Police Department was awarded $1,000 for surveillance equipment.
A total of 119 agencies applied for the grants, with funding requests ($955,000) far outpacing the amount of money available ($300,000).
The OJA says smaller police agencies -- those with twenty or fewer sworn officers -- often do not have the economy of scale to absorb capital costs and make investments in needed, but expensive, equipment. Smaller police agencies are also frequently overlooked in many competitive grant opportunities, which may have eligibility or grant criteria that favor larger agencies.
In addition to providing public safety services in their own communities, many smaller law enforcement agencies and county sheriff departments are called upon to assist in other jurisdictions. Small police agencies contributing their resources are an important part of effective response to larger incidents.