MARTINS FERRY - The city's police department recently received three grants that will go toward the betterment of the department and the service it provides to the city.
These three grants were written by Development Director Kathy Gagin. A check was presented to Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland at a press conference that was held Wednesday.
The largest grant was $9,500 from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation through the Giving Back Fund. The money from this grant will go toward general expenses and veterinarian care of Martins Ferry K-9, Ecko. This grant was received through the help of a nomination that came from the Jefferson County Humane Society.
Pictured are Martins Ferry Safety Director Bill Suto, Mayor Paul Riethmiller, Police Chief John McFarland and Development Director Kathy Gagin. Kneeling is K-9 handler Chad Kuhn and Ecko. Gagin presented a check to McFarland for the grants that were awarded to the police department.
"I want to extend a huge thank you to the Jefferson County Humane Society and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for this grant. This money will go toward insurance for Ecko, which is an important thing in case something would happen to him," said K-9 unit handler Chad Kuhn. "This was a blessing, and I did not expect it. We were doing OK without it, but now we are going to do even better."
Ecko is a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois and is a dual purpose K-9, which means he is trained in narcotics, suspect apprehension and tracking.
"We are very pleased that the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation gave us some funding," said Gagin.
The second grant is a $2,800 enhancement grant from the National Rifle Association. This grant is to provide educational material for schools. Officer Tom Siburt will present this program to children in grades kindergarten to third. The program is to teach children about gun safety and other subjects that are important for the safety of the public.
The third grant is a JAG-LE grant, which is offered through the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. This grant will go toward updating the recording equipment in the interrogation rooms at the police department.
Martins Ferry Police Sgt. Vern Trigg worked with Gagin on acquiring the JAG-LE grant.
"We felt that someone within the department would know more about what is needed, and it would be easier to get the information about the different things we would want to get with the grant," said Trigg. "We went for a recording system for interview rooms that allows us to record two interviews from one central location."
"The grant we received for Ecko is greatly appreciated. Ecko has a lot of needs and now we have the money to not only to fill his needs but to maintain them as well," said McFarland. "The JAG-LE grant will fill the equipment needs within the station. We are very grateful for what they gave us and will help to make the department better."
Gagin was first appointed development director for the city of Martins Ferry when Mayor Paul Riethmiller took office.
"When I took office as mayor, one of the first appointments I made was to hire Kathy Gagin as the development director. Kathy took the place of two individuals and saved the city money as we combined those two positions," said Riethmiller. "She comes to Martins Ferry with a wealth of experience and has been extremely busy applying for grants and showing prospective new business owners property all over town."
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.