DOT Grant Provides New Equipment to Police Department in Winton

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2003

WINTON – Thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT), law enforcement officials in Winton are the proud new owners of a state of the art in car camera.

The camera was awarded to the department after Police Chief Larry Balange, Winton Town Administrator Joe Futrell and Winton Town Clerk Kathleen Parker teamed up their efforts and completed paperwork necessary to apply for the grant.

Balange, who has been with the Winton Police Department since last May and has served in law enforcement for a total of nine years, said that the new equipment would assist officers during routine traffic stops, as well as to promote officer safety.

&uot;Although the camera cannot protect an officer physically, it can provide visual documentation of events as they occur, which in essence helps to protect the reputation of the officer as well as the department collectively,&uot; said Balange.

&uot;It could also be a great source of information in the event that a motor vehicle operator is found to be in under the influence or in possession of an illegal substance, while the officer is performing his duty of routine traffic stops.&uot;

In addition to filling out and submitting paperwork, DOT requires the town to match the amount of the grant in keeping with its grant guidelines.

&uot;Whenever a department applies to receive a grant, there are certain guidelines and requirements that it must meet,&uot; said Balange.

&uot;The DOT was very helpful in making sure we knew what we needed to be doing to be in compliance with their standards and the administrator that assisted us, Cheryl Leonard, was simply wonderful.&uot;

Balange said that in keeping with the requirements of the grant, his department had to provide DOT with monthly/quarterly objectives to chart its progress.

&uot;We had to be sure we were doing our part of the bargain so DOT could do theirs,&uot; he said.

&uot;The whole experience was very positive and we are very thankful for the people who helped make this possible.&uot;

The DOT permits departments to apply for one camera per fiscal year and he is hoping to apply for additional cameras for the remaining squad cars within his department.