By Conrad Dudderar
A state grant has funded 20 new portable radios for Canadian County sheriff’s deputies.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office recently was awarded a 2023 Safe Oklahoma Grant totaling $62,355.
The grant program has distributed $2 million among 58 law enforcement agencies across Oklahoma.
Canadian County’s $62,355 grant award – third largest in Oklahoma this year – was used to purchase 20 new 800-megahertz (MHz) radios.
“With our old radios, weren’t able to get batteries or get them repaired anymore,” Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward said. “As one would break down, we would just have to go buy another unit. This (grant) allowed us to replace all those old hand-held radios.
“They are used by our front-line deputies who sometimes are away from their vehicles. This gives them radio communication with dispatch, regardless of whether they’re in their car or not. That a big safety issue for us. We very much appreciate it. $62,000 is a lot of money and this fills that gap.”
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office received a record number of applications and was able to allocate funds to more agencies than ever before, according to Attorney General John O’Connor.
“This program has proven to help our law enforcement partners do their job better and reduce crime across the state,” O’Connor said.
“Each department need is different, but they are all necessary to fight crime and keep our communities safe.”
2023 Safe Oklahoma Grant monies are helping both rural and metro-area agencies directly target crime, upgrade antiquated technology, enhance analytical capabilities, purchase new resources, and pay overtime costs for officers.
Grant funds have been awarded to 58 law enforcement agencies – 38 police departments, 13 sheriff’s offices, six district attorney’s offices, and one college campus police department.
THIRD LARGEST GRANT AWARD
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office’s 2023 Safe Oklahoma Grant award is behind only Oklahoma City Police and Tulsa Police ($400,000 each) in dollar amount.
After Canadian County’s $62,355 grant award are Norman Police ($59,464), and Altus Police, Moore Police and Midwest City Police ($50,000 each).
Established in 2012, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Safe Oklahoma Grant Program is funded by an annual appropriation from the state legislature. All sheriff’s and other local law enforcement agencies, including campus police, are eligible for the grant.
After the applications are reviewed, the grants are made on a one-year period and continued funding is not guaranteed.
Applicants must include the city’s violent crime rate for the previous five years.