On Wednesday (Sept. 1), Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge allocated $500,000 toward the purchase of law enforcement safety equipment.
As part of ACT 786 – a law passed earlier this year – Rutledge said she’s using lawsuit settlements to help fund the Law Enforcement Public Safety Equipment Grant program.
“One of our biggest challenges is funding, and funding for our agencies to ensure that they have the proper equipment,” she said. “That way, when our law enforcement officers go out and put their lives on the line that they have the body cameras that whether it’s members of the media, or families of victims, or others are always curious to know whether or not that body camera was on.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said he’s already planning to apply for a grant for a piece of equipment that’s been on his wish list for some time.
“One of the things that I have looked for the last two to three years – which is a pretty expensive piece of equipment – is a training simulator for de-escalation,” he said. “For us across this country, we’ve had so many departments that names become synonymous for officer-involved shootings – right, wrong and indifferent – but having equipment like that at a cost is sometimes a very difficult challenge and so when you have funding like this, that can help ease the burden on us.”
The grant program will allow law enforcement agencies, detention centers, and corrections agencies to apply for funding to purchase equipment such as body cameras, bulletproof vests, training simulation programs, and agency accreditation programs.