By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians learned on Wednesday, Sept. 14 that it will receive a grant to upgrade public safety and law enforcement communications on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
The grant, totaling $643,063, was made by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) program.
Mollie Grant, EBCI Emergency Management manager, commented, “This is necessary in the coming years as the NC VIPER system is upgraded from the existing proprietary system to the standards based p25 trunking format. As a mission critical wireless network user, you may need a system that provides more than just voice communication.”
“These funds will allow the Public Safety and Law Enforcement to interoperate seamlessly with neighboring federal, state and local agencies.” She said. “Another benefit will be streaming video, advanced vehicle location or other mobile data applications at your fingertips. This grant will assist in meeting the needs by combining decades of land mobile radio experience with industry standard IP (internet protocol) network technology to deliver P25 standards with enhanced capabilities.”
Information from the DOJ states, “The money will be used to facilitate the transition from analog to digital communications. This will include emergency dispatch and communications upgrades, portable computers for mobile units in police cars, digital radios and GPS.”
Cherokee Chief of Police Ben Reed said, “This funding will be extremely beneficial to assist in upgrading our Public Safety communications equipment for Emergency Services. In today’s tough economy, I know everyone realizes how fortunate we are to obtain external funding. These funds will be put to good use for our community.”
U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins commented, “We are excited about the grant to improve communications both within the reservation and with public safety partners elsewhere. Communications systems are a key component of public safety, and this grant will ensure state-of-the-art communications tools are available to all aspects of public safety.”
Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli noted, “Our government-to-government consultations have been critical to our understanding of how to better serve and support our tribal partners. “By deepening our engagement with tribal governments, we have sought to help put an end to the unacceptable and sobering crime rates witnessed in Indian Country.”