Concordia Parish law enforcement to get stimulus money

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2009

VIDALIA — Approximately $32,380 in stimulus money is on its way into Concordia Parish law enforcement coffers.

In a statement from U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office Friday, Landrieu announced that $19,565 had been allocated to parish-wide law enforcement and $12,812 had been allocated to Vidalia municipal law enforcement from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“The current economic crisis has placed a significant strain upon our sheriffs and police departments,” Landrieu said.

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“If we are to ensure safe communities and continue our fight against crime, our local governments must have the proper tools and resources. Today, Louisiana experiences first-hand an immediate benefit of the economic recovery legislation that Congress enacted last month.”

The Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program will administer the stimulus monies.

Funds received through the justice assistance grant program can be used for law enforcement, courts, prosecution, corrections, crime prevention and drug treatment programs.

The statement from Landrieu’s office did not specify which law enforcement or prosecution bodies would receive the funds.

Vidalia Police Chief Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks and Mayor Hyram Copeland both said Friday they were unaware the funds had been allocated.

Many grants come with stipulations on how the funds can be spent, and Hendricks said he couldn’t comment on the funds until he knew more about them, or if they were even for the police department.

If they were allocated to the police department, he would like to use them to buy new communications equipment, Hendricks said.

“Our (radio) towers keep going in and out,” he said. “The equipment is very outdated, and the (officers) are having to use a radio-to-radio channel.”

Funds allocated for other local law enforcement agencies are $15,409 for Catahoula Parish and $14,197 for Tensas Parish.