The exterior view of the new FHPD vehicles.
By LORI EDMO-SUPPAH
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Fort Hall Police Department has been awarded a $947,820 Department of Justice COPS CTAS grant for equipment and training.
COPS CTAS stands for Coordinated Tribal Assistance. FHPD Chief Pat Teton said the funds will be used to purchase 20 new police vehicles for Patrol and Criminal Investigations over a three-year period.
Currently they are getting eight new Dodge Chargers fully equipped for the Patrol Division. The second year of the grant, the police will be getting six new Ford Expeditions fully equipped for patrol. The third and final year of the grant, they will be purchasing six new Dodge Durango’s for the Criminal Investigation division.
“We have changed up the color scheme for our new patrol cars which will go from black and white to silver and blue,” he continued. The change in color scheme is because they’ve gotten a lot of complaints about other agencies patrolling on the Rez and in actuality it’s not other agencies because the FHPD vehicles look similar to surrounding agencies. “We felt this look will distinguish us and there will be no confusion by the community,” Teton said.
Inside the new Chargers, the officers will have a space for laptop computers as they use MacBook Air laptops to write reports and look up driver’s licenses. The backseat has more room and the seat belts have been changed to insert into the opposite side so the officers don’t have to reach over the person in custody.
The trunk is packed with an evidence bag, cones, spike strips, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher and road flares to name a few, with little room for more.
Teton said some of the older police vehicles will still be utilized but the higher mileage ones will be processed back over to property.
He added they submit progress reports through the DOJ that is a requirement for receiving the grant. “We are very grateful that we received the 2016 CTAS grant. Receiving the grant will allow us to rotate some of our higher mile vehicles out of the fleet and replace them with new more reliable vehicles so we can patrol and respond to assist the Fort Hall community.”
Teton said they would like to thank Tribal Finance for their help attaining the grant and thanks to the Transportation Department who provided them with needed information.
Back seat view of the new police vehicle.