CANTON — Several law enforcement agencies in St. Lawrence County are set to receive more than $400,000 in grant money from the Department of Homeland Security.
Last week, the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators moved two resolutions forward to accept the grant money, which will be allocated between the sheriff’s department and other municipal police departments in Massena, Ogdensburg and Norfolk.
“Obviously, the $400,000 is nice for our county,” Sheriff Brooks J. Bigwarfe told the board. “Many agencies are involved and it helps us with overtime, helps us with manpower and it helps us with equipment.”
The larger of the two grants is distributed as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Stonegarden,” which distributes funds to law enforcement agencies within 90 miles of an international border. For this round of funding, the sheriff’s department will keep about $123,000, Ogdensburg police will receive $140,000, Massena police $57,000, and Norfolk $10,000. The remaining funds will go to state agencies, including the state police and DEC police operating in the county.
The second grant of about $44,000 will go toward the sheriff’s department. Mr. Bigwarfe told the legislators that he plans to appropriate the funds toward purchasing new protective gear, updating communications equipment, and possibly investing in a drone. He said the new drone would be used by the sheriff’s department to search for missing people, but other county departments or municipal police could use it if needed.
“The main reason is if someone gets lost, they have infrared drones now where they see the heat,” Mr. Bigwarfe said. “There’s different ways you can use it, but other county agencies can use it if they need a photograph of something.”
Currently, the sheriff said, the county sometimes borrows a drone from the St. Regis Mohawk tribal police, but it often takes several hours to navigate it across the county.
The resolution will be voted on at the full board meeting on Sept. 14.