By Victor O'Brien

Killeen Daily Herald

Harker Heights police intend to spend their share of a federal grant to put eyes and ears in new places.

The Harker Heights Police Department will buy a portable surveillance camera, an all-terrain vehicle and three patrol bicycles with the $23,500 awarded the city in an agreement with other Bell County agencies.

Bell County received $554,756 as part of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The grant increased significantly in 2009, which made it possible for smaller Bell County agencies to receive funding in addition to the Killeen and Temple police departments.

The new equipment will allow Heights police to patrol places they cannot reach as easily with a car, Police Chief Mike Gentry said Wednesday.

The equipment is part of a Crime Analysis Directed Enforcement Technology program, which Gentry hopes to start this year. CADET focuses on analyzing trends and deploying officers to curb property crime.

The pole-mounted wireless camera can be placed anywhere, allowing Heights to monitor large events at the city's new athletic complex and parks. Heights police can catch criminals with the camera if it's placed on a street where vehicles are being burglarized. The camera records footage that can be used in prosecution. Gentry equated the $10,000 camera to another patrol officer.

A golfcart-like all-terrain vehicle and three bicycles will be purchased with patrolling parks in mind, Gentry said. Officers would be able to weave through hills at the city's park to get from point to point by paths inaccessible to a patrol car.

The three additional bicycles will give the city a total of five that can be used to increase police presence at popular spots such as Market Heights and to bring a community-friendly approach in neighborhoods.

Contact Victor O'Brien at or (254) 501-7468.

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