Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced today she secured $413,000 in federal funds to improve Battle Ground’s safety and emergency response capabilities and $131,000 to fund Washougal Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera Program in a spending plan advanced by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. The projects are supported by the Battle Ground Police Department, the City of Battle Ground, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washougal Police Department.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Herrera Beutler advocated for the inclusion of these community-requested priorities in the FY23 Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Appropriations bill. The bill now awaits approval from the full U.S. House of Representatives.
These two Battle Ground/Washougal-specific projects are included in a total of $7.4 million in specific funding priorities Herrera Beutler helped secure to support Southwest Washington law enforcement operations, including improving law enforcement radio communication systems, access to police body-worn cameras, and de-escalation training.
“With the disturbing rise in crime throughout Clark County communities, coupled with cuts to policing services and a demoralized police force due to anti-police rhetoric, it’s more important now than ever to support our law enforcement officers,” Herrera Beutler said. “This is why I went to bat and secured these community-supported requests for the City of Battle Ground and the Washougal Police Department to ensure first responders in our communities in Clark County and across Southwest Washington will be well-equipped to serve citizens.”
“We appreciate the support of law enforcement at the federal level so we can better serve our community at the local level. These federal funds will aid us in enhancing our Emergency Operations Center, and increasing radio communication capabilities inside our local schools,” Battle Ground Police Chief Mike Fort said.
“Representative Herrera Beutler is a strong supporter of our local law enforcement agencies, and her support for our body-worn camera program is greatly appreciated,” Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn said.
“We are proud of the work that our police department performs keeping our community safe. Our body-worn camera program will assist the department in providing services, while enhancing accountability and transparency. I would like to thank Representative Herrera Beutler for her commitment to public safety in our community,” Washougal Mayor Rochelle Ramos said.
Clark County project funding details:
Battle Ground Public Safety Technology Improvements - $413,000
- Strategic funding will help improve the city of Battle Ground’s safety and emergency response capabilities, which are currently constrained by out-of-date police technology, an inadequate number of outdoor cameras, and limited video storage capacity. Currently, all regional first responders are unable to communicate with each other or the 911 center inside the larger Battle Ground Public School District school locations. In addition, the Battle Ground Police Department relies on video surveillance to expand the department’s reach and capacity with constrained resources. Adequate video surveillance is critical to its ability to protect citizens and property for both immediate intervention of criminal activity and investigating criminal conduct after the fact. Also, installing radio repeaters inside schools ensures reliable communication capabilities in an emergency which increases student safety. Federal funding will help bolster overall community safety with comprehensive technology improvements intended to protect students and residents, as well as public and private property.
Washougal Police Body-Worn Camera Program - $131,000
- Federal funding will support the Washougal Police Department to establish a Police Body Worn Camera program to ensure high-quality service of its officers, increase transparency and openness, and strengthen trust in the community. Body-worn cameras will enable the agency to document all encounters in the field and develop clearer understandings of events, which may assist in the criminal justice process.
Other Southwest Washington project details:
Lewis County Public Safety Radio Communications Project - $2,800,000
- Funding for the Lewis County Public Safety Radio Communications project will improve countywide mobile and portable radio coverage, as well as ensure radio system reliability to improve public safety. Replacement of Lewis County Public Safety radio system infrastructure is essential to provide for reliable communications for all Lewis County law enforcement and first responders, 911-related communications, and all state agencies operating within the region.
Cowlitz County Public Safety Radio Technology Modernization & Radio System Microwave Replacement Project - $2,179,000
- Funding would be used to replace the obsolete and failing public safety radio equipment. Cowlitz 911 provides emergency communication and dispatch services to six law enforcement and six Fire/EMS agencies serving more than 100,000 residents. The safety of both community members and the emergency responders who serve them is reliant on this mission-critical radio equipment. Without updates and maintenance to this equipment, responders will be unable to talk to each other or 911 dispatchers, leaving no way for dispatchers to effectively deploy and manage critical resources to emergency situations.
Longview De-Escalation Police Training Simulator Project - $215,000
- Southwest Washington communities continue to experience an increase in violent incidents often involving people with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Federal funds will support the acquisition of a simulator for Longview and Kelso officers to gain experience in a safe training environment that will reinforce good tactics and decision-making. Using an interactive training simulator is a cost-effective way to implement on-going training for officers, in turn allowing them to support the community more effectively and increase public safety.
Wahkiakum County Radio Improvement Project - $1,595,000
- Funding for this project will upgrade the entire county radio system. Unfortunately, the current system is obsolete and inadequate for the population it serves. This system provides the communications for Law Enforcement, Fire, Ems, P.U.D, school district, public works, and the Town of Cathlamet. An upgrade to the emergency communication system will allow all emergency responders to provide better service to the residents of Wahkiakum County. An improved system will also benefit those who travel through the county, as the main route that connects the Long Beach Peninsula to communities inland passes through Wahkiakum County. The safety of both community members and the emergency responders who serve them is reliant on this mission-critical radio equipment, and an upgrade will benefit their well-being.
Long Beach Police Department Body Camera Project - $95,000
- Funding for body cameras for the Long Beach Police Department will help keep citizens and officers safe. These devices help keep all parties accountable, provide documentation for public records requests and help protect police officers and citizens against false claims of misconduct or abuse. Body cameras have already been implemented at the request of both police officers and communities across the U.S. and have shown measurable benefits to public safety and accountability.