$33 million grant bolsters VA law enforcement - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

$33 million grant bolsters VA law enforcement

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Police across Virginia are now spending $33 million on new equipment to make sure they're ready to face any kind of crisis shooter situation.

The Virginia Attorney General's Office handed out the checks Wednesday afternoon. 

A priority for the grant money is making sure Virginia officers are trained to handle crisis situations involving rampant shooters and the mentally ill especially in schools.

"Bad things happen around the Commonwealth every day. We don't ever want you without the most critical resources if we can do something about it," said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. "We never seem to get more than a little ways away without something else occurring in the news reminds us we have a lot more to do there."

The Hanover County Sheriff's Office received more than half a million dollars, which Sheriff David Hines says will be directed at securing schools.

"We're hoping to be able to purchase some equipment that will certainly help us enhance that safety while our students are at school," said Sheriff Hines.

VCU police received more than $2 million to create a training facility.

"It's critically important for us to have a facility so we can train for the very unique challenges that we have," said VCU Police Chief John Venuti.

The complex will have a firing range, simulated shooting situations, and a classrooms for dealing with the mentally ill during intense standoffs.

"Obviously in the field of campus law enforcement, we have very unique and special challenges that we deal with on a daily basis. Some of those issues include mental health issues, as well as the extraordinary need and expectation of parents to keep their children safe each and every day," continued Venuti.

The location of the new facility is still under wraps. However, plans are already in the works. The facility is planned to be completed by the end of next year.

"I think the general trend across the United States is all of the agencies wanting to be ready when something like this happens and you can't do it without training," added Venuti.

Other local departments are investing in active shooter response programs, SWAT team gear, and other crisis training equipment.

The $33 million is part of a payoff from a massive health care fraud case. The Virginia Attorney General's Office headed up the investigation, which brought in $115 million for the state.

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