558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Crook County receives $12,476 Homeland Security Grant
Funds will help CCSO improve communications equipment
November 01, 2012
In recent years, Crook County has avoided major emergencies like wildfires or floods, and has yet to deal with an earthquake or other natural disaster.
Nevertheless, local law enforcement agencies continue to prepare for the worst, and have benefitted from state funding to bolster those efforts.
Most recently, Crook County received $12,476 of a $1.4 million Homeland Security grant that was awarded to 21 Oregon counties.
“The grant money will help equip communities throughout Oregon with the equipment and resources needed for terrorism and all hazard emergencies,” said Martin Plotner, director of the Oregon Military Department’s Office of Emergency Management.
In Crook County, local law enforcement has chosen to focus less of its efforts on terrorism than other potential threats. While they have not ruled out terrorism as a possibility, studies have concluded that the County would more likely face wildfire or flood emergencies.
To help prepare for such events, the Crook County Sheriff’s Office will utilize the newly-awarded grant money to improve its communications equipment.
“We are going to be using it to upgrade some of our mobile radios in our patrol cars,” said Deputy Dave Dethman, emergency manger for Crook County. “Without the grant money, we wouldn’t be able to do any type of upgrades.”
When an emergency strikes, local law enforcement relies heavily on effective communications to help remedy the situation, making it their number-one priority.
“To put it in a nutshell, if you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t respond,” said Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush. “And even if you know what’s going on, if you can’t communicate with your resources out where the rubber meets the road, you can’t respond.”
While the grant money is funding communications improvements for the County, the City will see the benefits as well. Bush noted that the two entities work closely together managing their communications system. In addition, the City information technology staff manages maintenance and upgrades to the public safety communications infrastructure in the County.
“It builds a tremendous amount of efficiency as we move forward,” Bush continued, “and as we buy new equipment, we are all doing the same thing and going the same direction.”
Although the City does not yet receive Homeland Security grants, they were awarded funding by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. They are using that money to develop an emergency operations plan comparable to what the County already has in place.
“This will make us NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliant,” Bush said, “which basically means that we, as a City, are eligible to apply for Homeland Security grants and that type of thing as opposed to running our grants through Crook County like we have traditionally done.”
However, Bush considers the grant eligibility a side-benefit of creating the plan. He is more encouraged that they will eventually have a City-specific emergency plan that will guide them during an emergency. Right now, if the City faces an emergency, they would have to refer to the County plan, which does not necessarily address certain City issues.
“We want a base plan that shows how we organize in a catastrophe or disaster — things we do, who is responsible for what,” Bush said.