City to get money for vests

Published 8:42 pm Monday, November 1, 2010

Thirty new bulletproof vests will soon be on the shoulders of Suffolk police officers, thanks to a matching grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Council members are expected to vote on accepting the grant money in their Wednesday meeting. Also on the agenda for the regular session are two more grants. The work session includes discussion of the legislative agenda and street name changes.

Council will meet for its work session at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 441 Market St. The regular session begins at 7.

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The $7,425 Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant will reimburse the city for half the cost of purchasing the new vests. The city applies for the grant each year, said Maj. Stephanie Burch of the Suffolk Police Department.

“We’ve been doing this grant for a really long time,” Burch said.

The department currently supplies a vest to each officer, Burch said. The protective material in the vests, however, does not have an unlimited life span. Typically, manufacturers recommend replacing the vests every five years, Burch said.

“Every year, we put in for however many are due to expire that year,” she said.

The city’s local funding of $7,425 is provided for in the police department operating budget, according to a staff report provided in this week’s City Council agenda packet.

On the docket for the work session are discussion of the 2011 legislative agenda, street name conflicts in several neighborhoods and an update on the Fairgrounds Revitalization and Redevelopment Project.

The regular session includes the acceptance of a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to be used for correctional officer salaries at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, and a separate grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation to fund a part-time position in the Department of Social Services.

The new part-time position will help create new outreach opportunities to identify and enroll eligible families and children in the Medicaid and FAMIS programs. The position will target the districts for Southwestern and Robertson elementary schools to maximize benefits for those living in less densely-populated areas, according to the city’s staff report.