Wood County security grant less than expected

PARKERSBURG – Wood County has been approved for a grant to improve emergency service communications, but the amount is less than requested.

County grant coordinator Toni Tiano said the county applied for a $679,600 Port Security grant through Homeland Security to provide emergency service communications upgrades and improve communication through the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network. The county has been notified the grant that has been approved is for the lesser amount of $273,000.

“That will be matched with $91,000 in in-kind. We can’t get in to see the budget. We only know one tower has been funded instead of two. As far as the breakdown goes, we can’t get in to see it until we go online and accept the grant,” Tiano told county commissioners Thursday. “I’m not sure which line items they may have increased or decreased without having acess to the new budget.”

SIRN is a collaborative effort by state, county and municipal public safety entities to establish and maintain a statewide interoperable radio network for emergency services.

Tiano said the grant is made available from the state through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

T.R. Smith, with the sheriff’s department, noted the additional equipment would enhance communications where problems have been encountered previously.

Smith said the work of placing the new equipment on the existing tower would be bid out.

“This enhancement will benefit all the local agencies,” said Shawn Graham, chief law enforcement deputy with the sheriff’s department.

Smith noted existing infrastructure will be used as the in-kind grant match. No county funds will be used for match.

Sheriff’s department officials said the system can be linked into by emergency responders from the FBI, state police, Coast Guard, U.S. Marshal’s office, all state, federal and local agencies including other police agencies and fire departments.

“We are trying to build up the infrastructure in Wood County to support every day communications, enhance all the communications,” said sheriff’s Capt. Rick Woodyard.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to accept the grant.