Bill could bolster public safety coffers

BURBANK — The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a bill on Thursday that would pad Glendale and Burbank's coffers with $750,000 in law enforcement funds.

Earmarked by Rep. Adam Schiff — whose district includes Glendale and Burbank — the funds include $500,000 for the Glendale-based Interagency Communications Interoperability System, known as ICIS, and $250,000 for Burbank Police Department's Park Patrol Detail, Schiff said.

The funds are part of a $53.7-billion spending bill that encompasses the budgets of the U.S. Justice and Commerce departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation, Schiff said.

The local programs that would get a boost from the bill were cited by Glendale and Burbank officials as law enforcement priorities, he said.

"Basically, we go to the cities and law enforcement agencies and ask them what are their highest priority needs … what are the things they would like to do that they don't have resources to do?" Schiff said.

The $250,000 tagged for Burbank Police Department's Park Patrol Detail would provide for more officer man-hours in the city's 29 parks, Burbank Police Sgt. Matthew Ferguson said.

Though Burbank's parks have not necessarily been hotbeds for crime, the department does routinely patrol the parks, he said.

Having more park-specific resources would allow more officers to be more concentrated in other areas, Ferguson said. Simply put, the more officers the merrier, he said.

Funds allotted to the Interagency Communications Interoperability System — a radio-based system put in place in 2005 that allows law enforcement agencies to communicate across jurisdictional lines — would likely serve three purposes, Glendale Police Capt. Raymond Edey said.

First, a portion of the funds would go to an expansion of the system's master site, which is housed in the Glendale Civic Center, Edey said.

Another portion would allow the system, which is supported by a Motorola proprietary operating system, to migrate to a nonproprietary, government-supported platform, Edey said.

Lastly, the department is in need of new radios, he said.

"The radios we're operating on right now are old," Edey said. "They predate our transition to ICIS, so they, especially in the rugged duty use of law enforcement and fire, they have to be upgraded rather routinely."

Having cleared the hurdle in the appropriations committee, the spending bill is now headed to a vote on the House Floor.

The measure will then have to be reconciled with a Senate appropriations bill before it gets to the president's desk, Schiff said.

"There's always the threat that the president could veto a bill that these projects are a part of, so that's a hurdle we have to overcome," he said.


  • RYAN VAILLANCOURT covers business and politics. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at ryan.vaillancourtlatimes.com.
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