Savannah’s portion — nearly $62,000 — of the larger pot of $200,000 will fund new portable fingerprint scanners, surveillance cameras and GPS tracking systems for the city’s police department.
(TNS) — Savannah police will be receiving a $61,828 federal grant, part of nearly $200,000 allocated to the Southern District of Georgia through the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhood's initiative.
The money will be used to fund new portable fingerprint scanners, surveillance cameras and GPS tracking systems for the department, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Christine stood with Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter, Assistant Chiefs Stephenie Price and Lenny Gunther and PSN Grant Review Committee Member Lance Hearn.
The total granted amount of $169,172 was split among other police entities in the Southern District of Georgia.
The Glynn County Police Department and Brunswick Police Department received $53,554, Richmond County Sheriff's Office received $35,790 and Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office received $18,000.
Spokesman Barry Paschal said, "the actual total of grant funding to the Southern District is higher, because part of the funds go to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia for compensation as the fiscal agent administering the grant -- a DOJ requirement of the grant process."
The nationwide DOJ initiative launched in 2001 and "found renewed emphasis in 2017," Christine said.
Christine touted a law enforcement sweep of the Cuyler Brownville neighborhood in Nov. 2017 that resulted in 33 people facing federal prison sentences.
"Such operations target the violent criminals in our midst, in our most crime-burdened areas," Christine said at the press conference Tuesday.
In many ways, the approach of PSN is similar to Savannah police's End Gun Violence initiative.
Both revolve around community policing and intelligence-based policing to identify and target the most violent offenders for enforcement action and tying together enforcement efforts with community-based prevention strategies in an attempt to combat violent crime.
"These funds will be used to improve the safety of this community," Christine said.
As of Aug. 24, the most recently available crime statistics from Savannah police showed a 31% increase in violent crime.
Savannah police have investigated 19 homicides in their jurisdiction in 2019.
"What you're hearing today is more than just a grant for technology and equipment," Minter said. "You're hearing a continued commitment of a strong partnership between the Savannah Police Department and our federal partners."
Minter said the new equipment is both a vote of confidence and a sign of high expectations.
"We realize this was a very competitive process, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be awarded this equipment, but we also realize it also comes with the caveat of: there's a reason why we were awarded this equipment," Minter said. "We realize there's some things we need to address and continue to work on."
Christine said he predicts the new technology from the grant will help Savannah police curb violent crime.
"A large part of that grant decision process is confidence in the leadership of local law enforcement," Christine said. "These grants will enable us to leverage technology in our fight against violent crime, and make no mistake, this is a fight."
©2019 Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.