The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Grants will help local police agencies
Eight local law enforcement agencies are among a long list of sheriff’s offices and police departments across the state that received $33 million for new crime-fighting equipment.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli distributed the money Wednesday to fund grant requests from the agencies for new equipment and training, he said.
Cuccinelli points out that this money comes from criminals, not taxpayers.
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office received the biggest local chunk with $435,064.90 designated to purchase a side scanning sonar system that is capable of searching underwater, mobile video recorders, a forensic system that can extract, decode and analyze data from electronic mobile devices and a target system for the Fredericksburg/Stafford Regional Firearms Training facility.
The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office received $222,440 to purchase a fingerprint scanner, a fully-equipped SUV for surveillance, cellphone analysis software and night vision binoculars.
Tactical patrol rifles and a few patrol vehicles will be bought with the $350,680 given to the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.
The Fredericksburg Police Department will use the $251,025 they received to enhance radio communications by moving from analog to digital. The upgrade will provide additional radio channels, better communication security and the ability to meet federal mandates for more efficient use of bandwidth.
Westmoreland’s sheriff’s office will purchase a van designed and equipped for safe and efficient gathering of evidence from crime scenes and a video/audio monitoring system for their interview room with their $184,005.75.
The King George sheriff’s office will use the $149,700 to upgrade their patrol car video cameras, an evidence incinerator, biohazard drying cabinet, an undercover body camera system and portable radios.
Orange County will be able to replace two aging patrol cars and upgrade the police department’s phone system for better voicemail capabilities.
The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office will use the $20,720 they received to help properly equip deputies with patrol rifles and related equipment. With a nuclear power plant and in schools, these patrol rifles will help increase the preparedness of deputies in the event that an incident occurs where traditional law enforcement weapons are not enough.
The money distributed is part of a $1.5 billion Medicaid fraud settlement last year involving Abbott Laboratories and is the largest Medicaid fraud case ever investigated by a state.
The pharmaceutical company agreed to settle the case after it was accused of illegally marketing Depakote, a prescription drug, for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
As lead investigator, Cuccinelli’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit received $115 million in criminal asset forfeiture money.
Cuccinelli said he wanted to share $105 million of those funds with state and local law enforcement.
In October, $4.2 million was given to localities for training for crisis situations involving those with mental illness and $30 million was given to shore up state law enforcement retirement accounts.
Earlier this month, $245,000 of the settlement money was used to purchase bulletproof vests for Virginia law enforcement.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419