The Citizens Options for Public Safety (COPS) grant, which the City Council voted to accept Monday night, will also allow the department to enhance its evidence-collection trailer and to get a new canine unit — which would allow one of the department's aging canines to retire. The department also plans to use the COPS funds to buy 12 "heavy-duty cases" for storing patrol equipment; 12 large-capacity UBS flash drives; and five new "remote area lighting systems."
The department's "enhanced" evidence-gathering vehicle would include a drying shed for "wet evidence," a refrigeration unit for other types of evidence, a place to view DVDs and security tapes, a generator and improved lighting. The cost of outfitting the evidence-collecting vehicle would be $50,000.
The council voted unanimously to accept the COPS money, saying the funds would bolster the police department and make the city safer. Palo Alto has been accepting COPS funds every year since 1998. In the past, the funds helped the department buy Tasers, surveillance equipment, upgrades to patrol vehicles and automatic license-plate readers.
"I think this is important for our police force and our community," Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa said Monday. "I know we've accepted funds for this program since 1998 and I hope we never get to the point where we're not accepting money for much-needed Police Department needs."