Colonial Heights First Responders get money to buy equipment

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Some local fire and police departments are getting a financial boost to buy what they call, "much needed equipment." The purchases are expected to help responders, better protect the public.

More than $150,000 in donations and grants will be divvied among the Colonial Heights Police Department, Sheriff's Office and Fire Department.

Police plan on using its portion of the pie to purchase a mobile license reader and associated equipment. The device scans license plates at high speeds and allows the officer to determine if a vehicle is stolen.

The fire department will use some of the funds to purchase turn-out-gear -- things like boots, pants, jackets and helmets.

Nearly $14,000 will be spent on turn-out-gear for paid and volunteer firefighters.

"If we don't have turn-out-gear we can't fight your fire. We can't save a life. We want to make sure people that are coming in have good up-to-date stuff to protect them in case there is a fire or emergency," said Colonial Heights Fire Marshal, Lt. Joe Boisseau.

A big chunk of the cash, $23,000, will go toward the purchase of hazardous material response equipment.

"We'll be getting equipment that detect or tell us what a material might be -- we'll be able to say this is a dangerous atmosphere so we know if we need to be wearing respiratory protection," said Boisseau.

The sheriff's office and the fire department will be outfitted will new digital cameras.

"So we can better document fire scenes. So we can better document arsons and have better documentation to present in court if needed," said Boisseau.

Responders say the money and purchases will help them better protect the public.

Officials hope to start making those purchases within the next two months.

City council is expected to give final approval on how those donated funds and grants will be spent next month.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.