Board of Crime Control Approves Homeland Security Grants
HELENA – The Montana Board of Crime Control approved homeland security grants worth more than $2.6 million during a recent meeting in Missoula.
The Board approved three Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention (LETP) grants worth $2,606,800. LETP funds are federal money, aimed at local law enforcement organizations. The grants approved by the Board will assist with the development of interoperable radio systems.
“These are huge undertakings, but it is essential that local, state, federal and tribal agencies be able to talk to one another,” McGrath said. “A coordinated system will improve every agency’s ability to respond to natural disasters, forest fires or threats to homeland security.”
Here’s a look at the three grants:
Northern Tier Interoperability Project
The project received $1,475,510. Participating agencies are all along Montana’s border with Canada: Blaine, Daniels, Flathead, Glacier Hill, Liberty, Lincoln, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Toole and Valley Counties. Other participating agencies are the Blackfeet, Confederated Salish and Kootenai, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Nations.
The grant will fund portable and mobile radios, radios for a control station and software to program secure radio channels.
Interoperability Concept Demonstration Project
The project received $924,000. It is based out of the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and will fund mobile radios and handheld radios, primarily for rural fire departments.
Although it is based in Lewis and Clark County, the program is a pilot project for the eventual expansion of a statewide radio system.
“There are so many agencies centered here,” said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Cheryl Liedle, noting that the project has brought together all of those groups.
“What has happened as a result of the project,” she said, “is that agencies have come together. The working relationships between us have improved vastly.
“It’s even more important than the radios in the hands,” she said.
The Dawson County P-25 Communications Project
The project received $207,290. Participating agencies are the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and the Glendive City Police Department. The grant will fund a dispatch-center radio, vehicle radios and repeaters, and handheld radios, along with a 100-foot tower. The agencies will also add equipment to allow monitoring of nearby counties and the Montana Highway Patrol.
“We’re very happy,” said Chief Alan Michaels of the Glendive Police Department. “It’s a big help for us, for the state and for the counties around us.
“It’s way overdue.”
“The advantage is that it allows to continue developing our 911 system,” said Dawson County Sheriff Craig Anderson. “And it positions us nicely to tie in with the overall state goal of a statewide radio system.”