Carlsbad’s City Council approved a federal grant application Nov.9 splitting $23,000 between the Carlsbad Police Department and the Artesia Police Department, Carlsbad Police Chief Shane Skinner said.
The Carlsbad Police Department submitted the grant application request to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) under the 2021 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program -Local Solicitation.
According to the BJA website, the Edward Byrne Memorial JAG Program was the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to states and units of local government.
Byrne was a New York City Police officer killed in 1986 in the New York City borough of Queens during a drug case investigation, the Office of Justice Programs website indicated.
“The case attracted widespread attention and media publicity. Ten thousand police officers attended the funeral. Byrne became the symbol of the cost of drugs to society,” the website stated.
Skinner said the goal of the JAG program focused on efforts to prevent or reduce crime and violence.
He said money from the grant was available for the Eddy County, the City of Carlsbad Police Department and City of Artesia.
“Staff coordinated with each of the entities to establish how the funds could be distributed,” he wrote in the memo.
“Eddy County Sheriff’s Department has declined participation, Artesia Police has requested $10,131 of the funds, and the remaining $13,384 will be used by the Carlsbad Police Department,” continued Skinner’s memo.
Comments sought by the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department were not returned by press time.
He said once funding was accepted and approved, the City of Carlsbad would administer funds through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the City would use the funds for purchase of information equipment.
“Good communication equipment improves our response time and protects the safety of our officers,” he said. “We appreciate all of the hard work in putting together this grant application.”
Artesia Police Cmdr. Pete Quinones worked with the City of Carlsbad and said the department applied for riot control helmets with visors and riot shields for 33 officers.
Protests in 2014 and 2018 in near the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) prompted training for Artesia officers from FLETC personnel on dealings with protestors and riots.
Artesia police do not have the proper gear to handle riots and protests, the application stated.
“In 2020, the political climate caused law enforcement agencies around the country to respond and handle many protests/riots. There were several protests in our area, but none that effected the City of Artesia at that time. I believe it’s in our best interest to obtain the appropriate equipment to handle these potential dangers effectively and safely,” Quinones cited in the application.
Skinner said the grant application required a 30-day review and final acceptance and approval was scheduled for the Dec. 14 Carlsbad City Council meeting.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.