On Tuesday, a $126,055 grant was approved by City Council for updating public safety in Bethel.
This includes a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping update for our region, two courses in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) for the Bethel Police Department and village law enforcement, and radio repeaters for the Police and Fire Departments.
“We always need radios, radios are in heavy use all day long. They get dropped, broken, lost, damaged,” said John Sargent, the City of Bethel's grant manager. “Sometimes they can’t be reprogrammed, and sometimes they just update a model. And we have to update our models to match the new updates or we can’t function like that.”
Sargent applied for the grant last February. This is Bethel’s third Homeland Security grant in a row, he said, and this time it will include a better mapping system for the city.
“So when they get a call in from 911 they can see exactly where the call is coming from, and have a map show up on the screen, and be able to direct officers accordingly,” said Sargent. “What buildings are in the area and also the Planning Department.”
According to Sargent, part of the mapping process includes flying over the region at 1000 feet. He said that he looked forward to its accuracy.
“So we’ll have really good photos, and then there is a map maker that takes those photos and overlays them on a map. It’ll be better than Google, which we’re oftentimes using now,” said Sargent.
The Bethel City Council voted unanimously to receive grant funds from the Alaska Division Of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.