CALAIS, Maine — In an attempt to be fiscally responsible in an ailing national economy, City Manager Diane Barnes said Calais is turning more and more to grants to augment local funding.
To this end, the city recently was awarded two Justice Assistance Grants, one for $78,983 and another for $14,743.
The first grant was a joint venture among Calais, Machias and Washington County, Barnes said.
In Calais’ application for the grant, Barnes noted that the city has been “dealing with a prescription drug abuse epidemic” for the past 10 years.
Barnes said the city did not have the resources to purchase the equipment sought through the grant, which includes $15,227 for protective equipment for law enforcement such as body armor.
Another $12,000 would put video cameras into three police cruisers.
“This would greatly enhance public safety,” Barnes said, and would be used as critical sources of evidence for officers.
The remainder of the funding, about $51,775, would be used to hire two new part-time employees: a 30-hour a week patrolman and a part-time grant writer and administrator. The part-time officer would be a patrol officer and would free up the drug officer to devote more time to investigations.
“Both of these positions are for two years,” Barnes said.
According to the grant application, Machias will receive $10,770 to upgrade crime scene supplies and laboratory equipment, evidence lockers and body armor.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will use its $11,668 to improve radio communications.
The second grant was also a joint venture between Calais and Washington County. Calais will use $14,743 for ammunition and rapid deployment training for six police officers.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will use its $4,360 for helmets, neck protectors, four Glock handguns and other equipment.