Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
– Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham announced a $4,469,789 grant under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to the City of Greenville. The grant falls under the COPS Interoperable Communications Technology Program and is one of only three awarded nationally.
“These funds will allow local law enforcement and fire and medical service communities to have the ability to share critical information and significantly increase public safety,” said Senator DeMint.
“First responders and emergency personnel risk their lives every day to protect others,” said Senator Graham. “They are the first line of defense during natural disasters and other emergencies. This grant will help provide them with the technology they need to save lives.”
Communications interoperability refers to the ability to talk across disciplines and jurisdictions via radio communications networks on demand, in real time when needed, and as authorized. One of the major issues currently facing emergency services providers is the inability of first responders to communicate with one another. This grant is a regional effort, affecting Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens and Pickens.
Greenville City Police Chief W. L. Johnson said, “This is going to connect Law Enforcement in four counties where we will have interoperability for day-to-day police activities and for crisis response. It is a huge step forward for law enforcement in the Upstate of South Carolina, and something that could not be done on our own. The federal government has provided a way through this grant program.”
The funds will offset the cost of purchasing voice and data communications equipment, enhancing communications infrastructures, and project management.
The COPS Office awarded 26 agencies nearly $93 million in FY2005 to address this growing need through the COPS Interoperable Communications Technology grant program. This initiative was coordinated with the Office of Justice Programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the SAFECOM Program. Targeted agencies were invited to apply for funding for both voice and data interoperability projects. In addition to these 2005 grants, the COPS Office awarded 37 projects across the nation totaling $149 million in fiscal years 2003 & 2004.