Various types of police tactical equipment were the major discussion items at Tuesday’s Harker Heights City Council meeting.
Deputy Police Chief Phil Gadd explained the need for a digital crime scene reconstruction diagraming station, 12 Tasers for police officers in the field and 12 handheld and nine vehicle mobile radios that are compliant with Project 25, a national operating standard for public radio systems regardless of manufacturer.
The chief also has prepared an application for a grant through the Department of Homeland Security for the purchase of two tactical micro-robots. They will facilitate improved police response and save lives by providing reconnaissance in high-risk situations.
The department submitted an application last year for this equipment but was not funded.
Gadd said, “We don’t have advanced methods for the documentation of a crime or crash scene that can digitally measure angle and distance from a fixed point. This equipment translates the data into two- and three-dimensional diagrams for forensic purposes.”
Council members approved a grant amount of $27,503.28 that will fund the station hardware and software.
An application has also been prepared by the police department totaling $14,640 to fund the purchase of 12 X26P Conducted Energy Devices, commonly known as “Taser.” Last year, the department applied for a grant to purchase 50 of these but was awarded enough funds to buy only 27. HHPD is hopeful that the new grant will fund the additional 12 needed by the department.
Gadd said, “Studies have shown a significant reduction in injuries to both officers and suspects when the devices are used.”
The council voted to approve the filing of the additional grant with the Governor’s Office.
The council also approved the filing of a grant application through the Department of Homeland Security to improve the infrastructure for emergency communication among first responders in Bell County and the state.
The purchase of 12 handheld and nine vehicle mobile radios would bring the system into compliance with “Project 25” which is a national operating standard for public safety radio systems.
The Bell County Communications Center has upgraded its infrastructure to be P25 compliant. The system will perform at its highest level when all radios are P25 compliant.
“The system puts all first responders from various cities on the same playing field so to speak when it comes to communicating from one department to another,” Gadd said. “What was already a dreadful situation during the explosion in West was made worse by the fact that first responders on the scene could not talk to each other.”
The council gave approval for the police department to pursue this grant application for the new radios at a cost of $49,112.00.
Gadd concluded his requests on behalf of HHPD by proposing the preparation of a grant through the Department of Homeland Security that will combine law enforcement and the world of robotics.
HHPD wishes to purchase two tactical micro-robots.
“The robots are used in SWAT team operations such as high-risk warrant situations, barricaded individuals, and fugitive apprehensions,” Gadd said. “They also prove helpful when explosives or other munitions may be present or when hostages or other innocent civilians may be in harm’s way.”
The City Council approved the grant application for the micro-bots that that will total $24,590.