First Posted: 1/15/2009
Seven county agencies to share $628,403.71
LUMBERTON -- The Robeson County Sheriff's Office hopes that a $113,666.36 federal grant will help it cut into what it calls a plague of domestic violence that has struck the county.
Sheriff's Lt. Roger Taylor says the Sheriff's Office plans to hire two new officers to form a domestic violence prevention unit by August.
The Sheriff's Office is one of seven county organizations to receive federal money to help fight crime and violence, according to a statement from Congressman Mike McIntyre's office. The office also received a total of $220,275.82 Police 2 Police grant for a total of $333,942.18.
The county received $628,403.71 as part of more than $2 million in federal money distributed to eight southeastern North Carolina counties. The others are Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, New Hanover, Pender and Sampson.
“Domestic violence is a problem that's plagued our area and the nation for years,” Taylor said. “Due to limited manpower and limited resources, we haven't been able to aggressively address the issue. We've kind of had to take a Band-Aid approach to domestic violence.”
Taylor says the two newly hired officers will follow investigations and aggressively approach domestic violence situations. He said the officers will receive additional training through the North Carolina Victim's Assistance and the North Carolina District Attorney's Association.
The Sheriff's Office will also be able to enhance its current records system with the purchase of the Internet Police 2 Police Connection Program.
Taylor says the program, which the department began using Friday, will allow the Sheriff's Office and county District Attorney's Office to easily access information -- including photo lineups and pawn shop receipts -- from 40 law enforcement agencies across the state that also use the program.
He said the money will pay for the cost of the Police 2 Police software, which includes 80 software packages, and a faster Internet connection.
Three county law enforcement agencies will get grants to purchase computers for police patrol cars. The Lumberton Police Department was approved for $44,712, the Fairmont Police Department $12,000 and the Pembroke Police Department $6,506.25.
Lumberton Police Chief Robert Grice said his department will purchase about six computers for patrol cars, bringing the total to 18. The computers will allow officers to check for wanted people and write up the incident reports in the patrol cars.
Computers normally cost about $8,500 each, which includes installation.
“We feel like not only is it a safety issue that officers will be able to run tags out in the field, but they will also be able to see if a vehicle operator is wanted,” Grice said.
Fairmont Police Chief Sam Hunt said he hopes to use the $12,000 for two car computers, bringing the department's total to four. He said that he hopes to have them installed by September and that he plans to eventually have computers in all 12 of the department's patrol cars.
“It helps the officers out on patrol, and it increases the safety of officers by having the information right at their fingertips,” Hunt said. “It gives us access to information about people officers stop, like outstanding warrants and vehicle information and a criminal history on people.”
Pembroke Police Chief Travis Bryant said the $6,506.25 will pay for one computer, bringing the department's total to five.
“I will put it in my detective's car, which will allow him to be more productive because he will be able to do a lot of his office work out in the field in his car,” Bryant said.
Palmer Prevention Executive Director Tom Norton said the organization will use its $94,999.88 toward launching a residential drug-treatment center in the Robeson County jail for inmates 16 to 30 years old who aren't charged with violent crimes. He said he hopes to begin the treatment center July 1.
“A lot of time jail is just a resting place for cocaine users, where they can gain some weight and take care of some health problems,” Norton said. “We're hoping to rid the county of the severe cocaine problem that is draining our county's economic system.”
No one answered the phone Thursday or Friday at Maxton Youth Development, which received $80,243.40. Ginger Carter, the director of the Southeastern Family Violence Center, which received $56,000, said she wasn't aware that the center had been approved for any money and declined to comment.