DOUBLE SPRINGS - A $24,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has enabled the Winston County Sheriff’s Office to make some major updates on key equipment.
This spring, the sheriff’s office applied for a grant to purchase eight new tasers and eight new radars for deputies and investigators, noted Sheriff’s Investigator Jacob Eward. Eward and Chief Deputy Caleb Snoddy submitted the grant application and found out the office had been approved for the funding about two weeks later.
The sheriff’s office then worked with the Winston County Commission to start the bidding process on the needed equipment.
“We got with several different companies and received bids,” said Eward, adding all bids were received by the end of May.
After determining the lowest bid, the sheriff’s office began the process of purchasing the much-needed equipment, according to Eward.
Axon of Scottsdale, Ariz., received the low bid on eight taser X26Ps at $10,000, with Kustom Signals, Inc. receiving the bid for eight radars at $14,000, sheriff’s officials said.
“A lot of our tasers were older and outdated,” Eward explained. “Some we have probably had for six, seven, eight years. We maintain them, but after so many years, the battery life is going to go down, the functions are going to go down.”
Tasers, which can provide a feeling of shock to their target, could be used on persons posing a threat to law enforcement, persons being combative or acting in an irate manner or persons who try to flee or elude, sheriff’s officials said.
Eward said the sheriff’s office’s radars still worked but were very outdated.
The new radars will be enough to equip each deputy’s vehicle, according to sheriff’s officials.
Winston County Sheriff Horace Moore stated that the new equipment will be beneficial to everyone in the county.
“This is a win-win situation for not only the safety of my deputies but for the citizens of the county. The old tasers we have may work or may not work when we deploy them. If they do not work, we may have to use other means, including weapons, to protect the citizens. The radars will be used to slow down traffic in our neighborhoods where children are playing,” Moore said.
Some residents may believe that, since the sheriff’s office has new radars (which are used to monitor motorists’ speeds), deputies will be writing more tickets which will, in turn, bring additional revenue into the sheriff’s office, Eward stated.
“That is not so,” Eward pointed out.
“Neither the sheriff’s office nor the commission benefit in any way from tickets written for traffic violations by the county,” stressed Snoddy.
“The radars were purchased in response to many citizens voicing their concerns about increased speeding on county roads. Although it is not the sole job of the sheriff’s deputy to work traffic, I still believe it is the job of the sheriff’s office to keep its citizens as safe as possible, and if that means writing a few tickets for excessive speed, then so be it.
“Our focus with having these radars is solely about the safety of people on county roads and state highways that run through our jurisdiction.
“We have had a lot of complaints about people on rural roads (or) around residential areas driving way way too fast,” Snoddy added.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.