Island County cameras funded by Homeland Security grant

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is purchasing three infrared cameras, one for each precinct, through a grant received through the Washington State Department of Homeland security.

Through the same program, the county is also purchasing a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado for its Marine Safety Program to help tow the county’s existing watercraft and other functions.

The three Flir LS-64 units cost $5,300 at a total of $15,900 for three, and the Silverado costs $40,135.17. All of the costs were covered for by the Homeland Security Grant Program.

The Island County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the grants and purchase the items during its Wednesday, Aug. 12 regular meeting.

Different from a night vision camera, which the county already possesses, the hand-held thermal imaging device — or infrared —  will enable Island County law enforcement to detect the presence of a human — or animal — based on body heat in dark conditions.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said that homeland security grants were previously only available to jurisdictions bordering a foreign country. In recent years, the grant perimeters were broadened to jurisdictions bordering an ocean.

Brown said the county was aggressive in applying for state and federal grants that help offset operation costs.

Because of the homeland security grants, Island County law enforcement will be better able to serve as the “eyes and ears of homeland security,” he said.

The Homeland Security Grant Program was created to enhance the ability of states, territories, and urban areas to prepare for, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks and other major disasters. Grants can be used for preparedness planning, equipment acquisition, training, exercises, management and administration.

The state program is funded by the federal Department of Homeland Security, which awarded $11 million dollars to Washington state agencies during the 2012 fiscal year.


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