The law enforcement agencies of Cullman County may soon have more than $2 million in federal funding for needed equipment.

?We�re very excited,� said Chief Kenny Culpepper of the Cullman Police Department. �This is something we�ve needed for a long time.�

According to a press release from the office of Rep. Robert Aderholt, the $2,250,000 funding will be appropriated to the Cullman County Sheriff�s Office through the Omnibus Appropriations legislation that passed Congress on Tuesday.

�Local law enforcement officials have a difficult job made even more difficult without the necessary equipment,� Aderholt said in the press release. �The funding in this bill will provide the means to enhance public safety in Cullman County.�

The press release adds that the bill is on its way to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law.

�This will be the first time law enforcement in Cullman County has received an appropriation of this amount,� said Sheriff Tyler Roden. �And it doesn�t require any matching funds. Usually the grants we receive require some type of match.�

Roden said the grant, which was requested nearly two years ago, was likely approved because it did not focus on a single law enforcement agency.

�We included not just the sheriff�s office, we included the Cullman Police Department and Hanceville Police Department as well,� Roden said. �We were asking for money to improve all law enforcement in the community.�

Roden said the grant will allow the three agencies to purchase special laptop computers for their patrol vehicles.

�They are laptop computers that basically will allow officers to do what dispatchers have to do for them now,� Roden said.

Dispatchers must currently relay to patrol officers in the field all information concerning drivers� licenses, vehicle registration and outstanding warrants.

�The laptops will make the officers more efficient and able to use their time better,� Culpepper said.

In addition to quick access to information, the computers will provide a secure, wireless communication system for the three agencies.

�It�ll help us out a lot with communication and make us more interoperable with the sheriff�s office,� Culpepper said.

Roden said he did not yet know if the money would purchase computers for every patrol vehicle in the county.

�We hope to get one for every patrol car,� he said. �We�ll see if the money will be able to go that far.�



� Patrick McCreless can be reached by e-mail at patrickm@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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