Local law enforcement receives Federal grant

By QCS staff

Local law enforcement agencies are nearly $20,000 richer, thanks to a grant from the federal government.

Part of the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant program, the $19,679 for the area will be shared by the Quay County sheriff’s department and Tucumcari police department and must be used to fund initiatives regarding evidence, according to Tucumcari Police Chief Larry Ham.

“This grant … is for the purpose of funding training, equipment and supplies to enhance, collect, safeguard and present evidentiary items,” Ham said.

The current system used by Tucumcari police is to log all evidence by hand, Ham said.

A computerized system, such as the one at his last station in Silver Springs, would allow all evidence to be tracked electronically with a bar code placed directly on the items and easily scanned into the system.

“There is definitely a need for it,” Ham said. “So when an officer seizes evidence and turns it over to the evidence custodian, it can be directly logged into the system. Anytime that evidence is logged into the computer its whereabouts can be tracked.”

Ham said the monies from the Byrne Memorial Grant may not seem like a lot of funds, but “it’s a substantial amount for us” and will sufficiently cover the cost of an evidence tracking system.

The grant honors young New York City cop Edward Byrne who was slain by a drug lord in 1988.

Other areas that received funding through the Byrne grant include $10,000 for Taos; $23,000 for Rio Rancho; $36,000 for Clovis/Curry County; $88,000 for Santa Fe County; and $800,000 for Albuquerque/Bernalillo County.

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety was also awarded $3 million for statewide initiatives concerning drugs, terrorism, criminal justice records and, according to officials, “(to) fund an evaluation program to evaluate the program’s success.”