Montevallo, Helena police departments receive grants

Gov. Bob Riley has awarded $50,000 to enhance public safety measures in two Shelby County municipalities.

The Montevallo and Helena police departments will each receive a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grants.

Riley said the grants will enable the departments to purchase much-needed equipment.

“Every time our police officers put on the badge, they may be called upon to risk their lives to protect us,” Riley said in a press released statement. “It is essential that we provide them with the equipment needed to perform their duties effectively.”

The MPD will use its grant to upgrade its dispatch communication system, said Police Chief Kevin Peters. According to Peters, the upgrades will allow the force to better serve residents.

“This is something that the police department and city hall have put a lot of time and effort in,” Peters said. “We worked together to get this grant and we’re happy it’s here.”

Montevallo Mayor Sharon Anderson said she too is excited about the grant and credited the police department and city accountant Debby Weldon for filing the necessary paperwork.

The HPD will purchase eight digital in-car video camera systems with its grant, said Capt. Tim Carter. The new cameras will eliminate the use of analog tapes such as VHS and Hi8.

“The digital systems out there are incredible. They’re a great asset to what we do,” Carter said. “[The cameras] will eliminate any moving parting parts in the unit itself. We’ll have better quality video and audio and allows us to capture video that we couldn’t before.”

Carter added the video cameras will record on a continuous loop. Carter expects to have the digital cameras installed in patrol cars “in a couple of months.”

The grants awarded to the HPD and MPD are 90-10 matching grants, meaning both departments must raise between $2,700 and $2,800 to receive the grant. Carter said that’s a small price to pay if it’s of little cost to the people of Helena.