The federally funded State and Local Emergency and Preparedness Grant recently awarded funds for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and the Vienna Police Department to build up their response resources. The money will be used to buy equipment that will help the police improve its responsiveness in emergency situations. Vienna Police Department will receive $75,000 from the grant.
"We can't allow something to occur that will prohibit our ability to respond to people's needs," Vienna Police Chief Bob Carlisle said.
The federal government established this grant to help state and local fire and police departments respond to potential terrorist threats. On Sept. 11, 2001, the first responders to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks were local police and firefighters.
With the money, the police will purchase three items. The first item, a response-utility vehicle, will be used to tow trailers and carry large pieces of equipment, including cones, barricades and hazardous materials.
The second item will be a reverse 911 system, which allows the police to record a message and call residents with that message. The system puts out the message over multiple phone lines and increases the ability to notify or caution the community of things that could happen, like a hazardous waste spill.
The last item would be video surveillance for the police station.
Carlisle said the department is excited to get these items.
"It will give us technology we don't have today," Carlisle said. "We feel it's going to let us serve the citizens better."
Town officials said they were also pleased to hear about the money the police department will receive.
"I think it's going to be spent on very worthwhile things," Vienna Mayor Jane Seeman said.
"This is going to give us something we need very badly," said Vienna town manager John Schoeberlein.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the money to the originators of the grant application, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. The county cooperated with local jurisdictions for the grant and the Vienna Police Department was included in the county's application.