Pennsylvania

Harrisburg police awarded grants for violence prevention, technology upgrades

Harrisburg Police Bureau vehicle (file photo)

The Harrisburg Police Bureau plans to increase its crime prevention efforts with funds from two newly awarded state grants.

The city announced Thursday that it has received two grants totaling more than $3.3 million from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquecy that will help the bureau hire staff and purchase equipment.

“The Harrisburg Bureau of Police is grateful to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for awarding a grant to the City of Harrisburg to increase our law enforcement efforts to reduce crime and gun violence,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Dennis Sorensen.

According to the city, $2.2 million is from the state’s Local Law Enforcement Support Grant Program and another $1.26 million is from the Gun Violence Investigation & Prosecution Grant Program.

With the money from the assistance grant, the bureau plans to purchase a license plate reader to identify license plates of suspected illegal activities and a laser scanner that will improve crime scene processing. They will also purchase additional body worn cameras.

The bureau also plans to improve its wellness program for officers and hire a mental health professional to assist officers.

The Gun Violence Investigation grant is designed to pay officers overtime for details on the saturation of multiple agencies in high crime areas. It will also fund the purchase of a gunshot detection system to identify where shots are being fired during incidents when 911 is not called.

In addition, the office plans to purchase video doorbell cameras for homes and install porch lights in high-crime areas.

“Our local police force faces a variety of challenges every day and deserve the latest equipment and resources to assist them in protecting our communities,” said Senator John DiSanto.

On Wednesday, DiSanto announced $5.3 million in grants from the local law enforcement support program for offices across Dauphin County.

The state Crime and Delinquency Commission received the money as part of federal funding of the American Rescue Plan Act. Harrisburg applied for the scholarships in October and received the most money in Dauphin County.

Other Dauphin County grantees include:

  • Derry Township ($115,008) for automatic license plate readers, GrayKey digital forensic access tool, Axiom forensic analysis tool, and training on the use of digital forensic equipment.
  • Highspire Borough ($65,078) for portable radios and related software, laptops and tablets and related software.
  • Lower Paxton Township ($874,973) for the upgrade of the records management system, license plate reading system, a co-responder position, a forensic personnel position and cameras in the interview room.
  • Lower Swatara Township ($102,716) for retention bonuses, laptops, a mental health co-responder, partial police academy tuition and recruiting bonuses.
  • Middletown Borough ($41,562) for a fixed multi-camera license plate reading system and cellular data terminals for police vehicles.
  • Penbrook Borough ($210,238) for a part-time civilian accreditation manager, portable radios, mobile radios and associated installation and equipment costs.
  • Steelton Borough ($105,712) for office computers and monitors, software upgrades, car computers and related expenses, tablets, office laptops, a parking attendant, and an officer wellness program.
  • Susquehanna Township ($1 million) for the purchase and implementation of a new vehicle recorder and body-worn camera system, an upgrade to the server/cloud storage systems, cellular forensic equipment, and the installation and implementation of license plate recognition devices.
  • Swatara Township ($549,016) for hard drives for data storage, drying cabinets, security cameras, body-worn cameras, cell phone analyzers, license plate readers, tablets, radios, a portable fingerprint scanner, an officer wellness program, and additional officer training.

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