Carson City spends $2 million for homeland security | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City spends $2 million for homeland security

by F.T. Norton

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Desert Hills Video Security Systems installer Steve Henson installs a surveillance camera at the Carson City Courthouse on Wednesday.

Carson City stepped into the new millennium with $2 million in homeland security grants that made it possible to install cameras in the courthouse and purchase state-of-the-art equipment for public safety.

Grant writer Stacey Giomi, assistant fire chief for the Carson City Fire Department, said Friday the money came in two grants beginning almost a year ago.

“We were very successful. We did very well. Everything we’ve received is something the city has asked for in its budget or we have determined we needed for homeland security or disaster response,” he said of the more than 30 items purchased with the funds.

One of the most noticeable improvements for Carson City came when eight cameras were installed at the courthouse to monitor activity in the lobby, hallways and parking lot.

“The funds that have been utilized from homeland security have allowed the Sheriff’s Department to make tremendous strides toward better protection,” Sheriff Ken Furlong said. “We’ve been able to purchase equipment and training resources that otherwise would not have been available to us because of resource restrictions.”

Furlong said the items received through the grants scratch the surface of his department’s needs.

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“Hopefully next year we can take some of those funds and use them for training,” he said.

Giomi said although the items purchased are effective in the event of a terrorist attack, all have multiple purposes.

“The good thing about the Homeland Security Grant is the money can be used for homeland security issues, but the equipment has many daily uses and our people are very familiar with it,” he said.

Furlong agreed.

“Everything that we have picked up in the last year has been used at some point since we’ve received it, including most recently the new command post which we used during the election. Everything has been put on the front line for the deputies,” he said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

ITEMS PURCHASED WITH THE TWO HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS TOTALING $2 MILLION

• Gas masks for Sheriff’s Department personnel.

• Mobile Command Post for use by fire, sheriff and public works. Th vehicle is equipped with radios, video equipment, computers, etc. Total cost: $250,000.

• Mobile air, light, power unit housed at the fire department which can provide long term supplied air for self-contained breathing apparatus. It could be used for weapons of mass destruction incidents, fires and rescue situations. This vehicle is also equipped with emergency-scene light, and a large on-board generator can provide power to almost any city facility. Total cost: $199,500.

• Radio system improvements for fire and sheriff, allows better communications between field units and dispatch and between sheriff and fire. $40,000

• Infrared spectrometer. A device used to detect chemicals, biological agents, or any other unidentified material, it is used by police, health and fire.

• Night vision goggles for sheriff and alternative-sentencing personnel.

• Hazardous material communications and detection equipment. Field equipment used to help hazardous material technicians communicate while in fully encapsulated suits. Field detection equipment to sample unknown substances.

• Programmable portable radios, to be used during disasters or major emergency.

• Public Safety Complex camera system.

• Automatic fire-personnel accountability system. It is used to track each individual who is operating on the scene of a fire, hazards or weapons of mass destruction incident. The device tracks location, and can warn if an immediate evacuation is necessary.

• Mobile Data terminal for police and fire. It sends dispatch and other critical information to field personnel. Limits radio communication, and provide valuable response information. Approximate cost $250,000.

• A mobile equipment trailer for Sheriff’s SWAT and emergency response equipment.

• A portable patient decontamination tent for Carson-Tahoe Hospital. Allows Carson-Tahoe Hospital personnel to decontaminate patients in a remote area and avoid contamination of the hospital.

• Remote rescue cameras for locating victims trapped under debris or for remote monitoring of a hazardous material or weapons of mass destruction site.

• Paging software and communications equipment to allow all city personnel to be reached by emergency dispatch via pager, cell phone, PDA or other electronic communications device.

• Tactical entry equipment for sheriff personnel. This equipment is especially designed for SWAT and other department members to make entry into high hazard environments. The level or protection is greater than the every day body armor.

• Emergency response equipment for the city’s Public Works Department personnel who support the fire department on hazardous material responses.

• Surveillance equipment for the Sheriff’s Department.

• Tactical response equipment for the alternative sentencing officers and court officers to provide for their protection and the protection of the court system.

• Twenty portable radios for the Sheriff’s Department.

• Crowd control identification equipment for the Sheriff’s Department.

• All terrain vehicles, with a suburban and equipment trailer for the Sheriff’s Department personnel to allow access to remote areas for rescue, terrorism tracking, etc.

• Two additional utility trailers for the Sheriff’s Department.

• Surveillance equipment for alternative sentencing

• Update to Carson City Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan

• A Hazardous Materials response unit – to be delivered in April 2005 -total cost $362,500

• Automatic vehicle locating system for use on police and fire vehicles to assist dispatch in alerting the closest available unit. Total cost: $125,000

• An emergency animal identification system to be used by Animal Control to ID animals during a large scale disaster or quarantine event

• A vacuum for collecting unknown substances for the Health Department.

• Computer security and network monitor software.