BOC approves purchases for HCPD

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Several items involving the Henry County Police Department were on the agenda at last week’s regular meeting of the Henry County Board of Commissioners.

The HCPD received the go-ahead to purchase 54 Glock handguns for up to $22,626. The department has been transitioning from older model .40 caliber handguns to 9mm handguns, according to HCPD Maj. Keith Going. This purchase will complete that transition.

Each handgun will have “HCPD” engraved on the side for identification purposes, Going said, and that mark can be removed when the weapons are no longer used by the department.

After last month’s approval of the purchase of 30 new Dodge Chargers, the commissioners have now approved the purchase of equipment for those cars at a cost of nearly $1.2 million.

There are 20 vehicles for the uniform patrol division and 10 for the criminal investigations division. The total cost includes emergency equipment, mobile camera systems, mobile radios, graphics and window tinting on some or all of the cars.

The HCPD has been awarded a $26,351 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for its Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement (CAGE) unit. Those funds, which are 100 percent federal and require no county match, were formally accepted by a BOC vote last week and will be used to upgrade the unit’s vehicle fleet and technology.

In 2007, the department purchased several used vehicles for its undercover surveillance unit. The mileage on those vehicles ranged from 32,056 to 64,953 at the time of purchase, but after nearly a decade of use those numbers now range from 94,451 to 171,845 according to a staff report. Some of them are unsafe for law enforcement use.

Desktop computers purchased with county funding in the early 2000s have exceeded their usefulness in terms of storage capacity and upgradeable software and have no potential for mobile use, which is what the unit requires for daily operations.

Funds from the grant will “provide a fresh upgrade in surveillance vehicles and personal technology that will enable the unit to continue operations in high-risk neighborhoods,” HCPD officials reported.

The department has a number of firearms in its possession that were acquired by way of civil forfeiture proceedings. “They have no legitimate law enforcement process,” according to officials.

Georgia law requires that they be sold but only to persons who are licensed as firearms collectors, dealers, importers, or manufacturers under applicable federal and state law and who are authorized to receive them under the terms of such license.

One particular firearm in HCPD possession was identified as “broken, illegal to possess, not of any historical significance, and not needed for law enforcement purposes,” officials said.

The Board of Commissioners declared all of these weapons as surplus, so the latter one can be destroyed by the HCPD and the others can be sold by the Purchasing Department.