GLENDALE — Police soon will be equipped with new crime-fighting tools that will allow patrol officers to identify stolen credit cards on the spot, analyze audio-visual evidence and maneuver better in confined spaces.
Grants from the Glendale Police Foundation will fund the purchase of load-bearing vests for Special Weapons and Tactics officers, credit card readers for patrol cars and video and audio equipment, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
The $2,500 mini-grants from the foundation come quarterly, mostly via fundraising and donations, member Nancy Michael said.
“The primary mandate for the [foundation] is to provide equipment, training and products that would otherwise go unfunded,” she said. “Budgets are tight and the [foundation] thought this would be of assistance to the police.
A committee made up of police personnel and a foundation member selects projects based on feasibility, relevance and possible results.
“The committee that reviews the grant requests is looking primarily for projects or equipment that will allow the GPD to more quickly and efficiently investigate crimes and make arrests,” Michael said.
With the grant funding, police can purchase 20 credit card readers, according to the foundation. The card readers, which already are in some patrol cars, allow officers to check if a card found during an investigation has been stolen.
The readers were useful during a May 27 vehicle stop, where police said they found three blank credit cards and a blank Wells Fargo bank card with four numbers handwritten on the back in the driver’s wallet.
Officers swiped the cards into a credit card reader and found they were encoded with stolen bank account information.
S.W.A.T. officers were awarded funding to purchase load-bearing vests, which are worn over bulletproof vests, allowing officers to carry more gear to an emergency, Sgt. Tim Feeley said.
The vests are fitted with numerous pockets and cargo areas to allow an officer to move more easily.
The vests were essential, Feeley said, because S.W.A.T. members generally have to haul more gear than other officers.
The Police Department received 30 vests, which cost approximately $80 each, he said.
Detectives also received funding to pay for additional equipment to review videos and audio seized as evidence during investigations, Michael said. Detectives often use the equipment to review video exploiting underage children.
They currently have one audio-visual machine, so she said the additional equipment would allow them to review several videos simultaneously.
“The faster they can review the videos, the more quickly they're able to identify suspects [and] build cases,” she said.