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Gainesville Police get $15K grant for equipment
Funds may go toward purchase of less lethal weapons
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The Gainesville Police Department will soon have an extra $15,504 to spend on law enforcement equipment and technology after being awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Gainesville City Council accepted the grant Tuesday. Gainesville Police Chief Brian Kelly said the specifics of what equipment will be purchased has not been decided, but the department did list a few items on the grant application.

"Initially on the application for the grant we're looking to increase some patrol rifles and some less lethal options for patrol shotguns and also to increase some of our electronic Tasers within our department," Kelly said.

Officers carry shotguns in their cars, but the department would like to increase the number of less lethal weapons to subdue suspects, Kelly said.

"What we'll do is we will be converting shotguns that actually fire hard munitions to the less lethal for the beanbag rounds, so we'll actually be deploying more of the less lethal options into the field," he said.

The main purpose of the grant is to protect officers while limiting lethal force.

"It will give us more tools to choose from and any type of force continuum, so that's initially what we're looking for right now," he said.

The department will begin the process of identifying its needs and then order equipment. Once the equipment is purchased, the city will be reimbursed through the grant.

"The city will put it out through the grant allocations and then once we purchase and spend those monies, then the federal government will reimburse the city on the grant funds that way," Kelly said.

The department also received a $12,000 award for placing first in the Governor's Challenge Awards held Sept. 23 in Macon.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety awarded the department the Governor's Cup based on its success in areas including policy/guidelines, officer training, public information and education, and enforcement activity and effectiveness.

That award will be used to purchase traffic safety equipment as instructed by the Office of Highway Safety.

"It's actually $12,000 worth of monetary certificates," Kelly said. "We're able to use them on (Office of Highway Safety) sites, so it's not hard cash ... but we're able to convert it into equipment programs."