Four amendments to New Castle County's grants budget were unanimously approved by council Tuesday night to give New Castle Police money for drug enforcement overtime, new computer hardware and software for preventative policing and overtime costs associated with the latter.
New Castle County Council voted 13-0 for each amendment, all of which were sponsored by Councilman Bill Bell (D-Middletown).
The first amendment that passed designated $36,205.91 from the Emergency Illegal Drug Enforcement Program to the New Castle County Department of Public Safety to pay for police overtime associated with drug investigations conducted by the NCC Police Drug Control Squad.
Bell said the overtime would specifically be used to remove illegal drugs from the community.
Councilman George Smiley (D-New Castle) said there had been a significant number of drug seizures and the removal of six weapons in the past week.
"The overtime funding is very crucial in our battle against crime in New Castle County," he said.
The second amendment allowed the county to essentially accept a grant-in-aid award of 400 printers and 400 Bluetooth USB dongles – a small hardware device – worth a total of $95,264, from the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council through the State of Delaware Law Enforcement Program. The 146th Delaware General Assembly awarded grant-in-aid funding to the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council through the Infrastructure Bond Bill. The chiefs' council bought the printers and hardware devices and allocated them to police agencies throughout the Diamond State.
According to the ordinance introduced by Bell, there would be an additional cost to the county of $11,600 needed to purchase cables and vehicle adapters to fit the printers into police cruisers.
The last two amendments voted on by council, respectively, designated $29,498 from the State Aid to Local Law Enforcement Program (SALLE) for the purchase of analytical software and hardware to be used to aid police in predictive policing and $37,501.41 for overtime costs associated with predictive policing.
The National Institute for Justice described predictive policing as the analysis of data "to anticipate, prevent and respond more effectively to future crime." Some in the law enforcement field believe the method "has the potential to transform law enforcement by enabling police to anticipate and prevent crime instead of simply responding to it."
"These types of grants enable our police department to not only begin programs but see those programs through," Bell said. "These particular funds will be used for overtime for the predictive policing program."
Page 2 of 2 - Councilman John Cartier (D-Penny) said the aggressive pursuit of predictive policing was admirable.