Signal Hill Police Department to receive grant from the Department of Homeland Security

CJ Dablo
Staff Writer

At Tuesday’s Signal Hill Council meeting, Police Chief Michael Langston reported that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $42,130 grant to the City of Signal Hill to purchase automated license plate readers (ALPR) for his department. The devices will be used to help police officers identify stolen vehicles and wanted persons, according to a report from Langston.
“We believe that this grant will greatly enhance…the security investigative capabilities,” the police chief told the Council Tuesday. Langston shared a story told to him by the police chief of South Gate where his department successfully used the ALPR technology in a homicide investigation. Investigators were able to find the suspect’s vehicle using license-plate reader technology and made a quick arrest, according to Langston.
The police chief explained to the Council that the new camera equipment will be mounted on two police vehicles, and in a follow-up interview Tuesday night, he said that the department does not currently have the technology on its police cars.
Langston described how officers right now have to manually check the license plates of vehicles, but with the new technology, the job could be done faster.
“This technology does it all automatically at a greatly enhanced speed than what the officer could do,” the police chief said, explaining that the new camera equipment will be able to check multiple license plates at the same time and even will be able to track when a suspect’s vehicle was at a particular location.
This particular grant will be administered through the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association collectively requested funds from the Department of Homeland Security through the Urban Area Security Initiative, according to Langston’s staff report. This particular grant is the first of two grants that the police department has received from the Department of Homeland Security, Langston told the Council.
The Council voted 4-0 Tuesday (Mayor Tina Hansen was absent that night) to authorize the city manager to accept the grant money. The news that the department will soon enjoy more funds and new technology pleased Councilmember Ellen Ward. She praised the police chief for doing a great job.
“We love free money. We love improvements,” Ward said at Tuesday’s Council.
The police chief acknowledged it wasn’t going to be hard to pick which two police vehicles will be getting the new equipment.
“They’ll probably be the most used [cars] once they get them in the car,” Langston said in his Tuesday interview. “The officers will say, ‘I want to drive that car.’”
He added that his department plans to get more grant money to get more cameras for the other vehicles.

Other City Council highlights
Power outage Those who watch the video coverage of July 17’s meeting may notice that City Hall had issues with the electricity Tuesday night. Because of a power outage that lasted at least part of the afternoon and into the early evening, the Council held its regular meeting without its usual overhead lights and without the regular sound system. The Council had already scheduled a very brief agenda.
Sprint The Council voted 4-0 (with Hansen absent) in favor of a resolution that amended a conditional-use permit that changed the inventory of antenna equipment at a local wireless telecommunication facility, at the request of Sprint. The facility is located on top of an office building at 2525 Cherry Ave.
State Proposition 84 Grant Award The Los Cerritos Channel Committee, with the City of Signal Hill acting as the lead agency, will receive a grant worth more than $338,000 for an environmental study project. Steve Myrter, Signal Hill director of Public Works, also serves as the co-chair for the Los Cerritos Channel Metals TMDL Technical Committee. According to an emailed statement from Myrter, the money will be used for a study to aid efforts to reduce the amount of metals such as copper and zinc found in stormwater runoff that begins in urban areas and leads to the Los Cerritos Channel.

The City Council’s annual meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 31 at 6pm in the Council Chamber. The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6 at 7pm in the Council Chamber.

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