MONTGOMERY, Ala. – State Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) on Friday announced that he has helped secure a $49,000 grant for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office from the Alabama Homeland Security Office. The grant will be used to purchase twenty-eight new, rugged work laptops that are essential for ensuring swift and clear communication between deputies in the field and the main office.
Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith said deputies have experienced on-going problems with the current laptops that were purchased in 2014.
“This grant is a huge deal for the Sheriff’s Office. We have had a lot of problems with our existing mobile data terminals, including issues with screen displays, batteries not charging, and software malfunctions. I appreciate Senator Reed and his office for their help on this. He really went to bat for us by sending a detailed letter of support, and having multiple conversations with Homeland Security officials,” Smith said.
For his part, Reed said supporting local law enforcement was a top priority.
“When we talk about law enforcement, we are talking about sheriff’s deputies and police officers who put their lives on the line every single day. Sheriff Smith came to me with this issue, and it was my privilege to work hard and make sure that Homeland Security knew this was an essential need we had in Walker County,” Reed said.
“I appreciate the work that Sheriff Smith and his team are doing, and any time law enforcement has a challenge like this, I am going to lean in and be a strong advocate in Montgomery for our deputies and police officers,” Reed continued.
The new, rugged laptops will ensure clear communication between the Sheriff’s Office and its local partners, including the Multijurisdictional Drug Task Force, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit, the Smith Lake Task Force, the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, and the Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center.
State Representative Connie Rowe (R-Jasper), who formerly served as police chief of Jasper, said the new communications equipment would give the Sheriff’s Office a better edge as deputies pursue criminals.
“As a retired police chief, I know how important it is for law enforcement officers to have the best available communications equipment, as they deal with criminal elements that can sometimes have very sophisticated tools. I appreciate Homeland Security and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency working with us on this grant. Nothing is more important than supporting our law enforcement officers in the field,” Rowe commented.
Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop said the grant was another example of the county legislative delegation working well with local officials.
“In my experience, it really helps at the local level when you have legislators like Senator Greg Reed, Representative Connie Rowe, and Representative Tim Wadsworth who work well with the county commission, the sheriff, and other local officials. We are fortunate, too, that all of our local legislators are very well-respected at the Statehouse — that gives us an additional advantage when we are applying for grants like these,” Bishop concluded.
Regina Myers, Director of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, said her agency works closely with law enforcement officers when responding to weather-related disasters.
“We have our share of weather emergencies here, what with tornados and floods, and there is nothing more important in those moments than quick and clear communication between law enforcement and agencies like the EMA. So, this grant is great news, and it will help make the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and EMA even more effective,” Myers said.
Greg Reed is the Alabama Senate Majority Leader and represents Senate District 5, which is comprised of all or parts of Winston, Walker, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, and Fayette counties.