Columbus prepares 2 grant applications

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — The city of Columbus is applying for grants for funding for improved crime lab equipment and police patrol speeding enforcement, as well as upgrades to Columbus-Lowndes County Airport.

The Commercial Dispatch reports that federal programs director Travis Jones is applying for a justice assistance grant that would reimburse the city up to $12,107 to purchase equipment for the Columbus Police Department’s forensic lab and its patrolmen.

Part of the money would be used for a compact digital lidar system, which Jones said provides improved detection of vehicle speeds in congested traffic.

“The lidar system would provide extreme accuracy and cutting edge technology for the department’s anti-speeding campaign,” Jones said.

The other portion would go toward purchasing a ninhydrin acceleration chamber, which is an incubator that helps with fingerprinting.

“This new piece of equipment would allow for temperature and humidity control through an exterior instrumentation panel,” Jones said. “This would allow the process to be developed in a controlled (environment) manually or automatically and would reduce variability within the process by decreasing health risks to personnel conducting the analysis.”

Any money spent in excess of the $12,107 would come out of the forensic lab budget, Jones said.

About $97,380 of a $108,200 airport improvement grant would be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration if it accepts the joint application from the city of Columbus and Lowndes County. The Mississippi Department of Transportation would pitch in another $5,410, leaving the city and county to pay $2,705 each for the remaining five percent.

Jones said those grant funds would be used for several deficiencies at the city-and-county-owned airport, the first of which being the relocation of its new wind cone.

“The existing wind cone is blocked by trees located on private property. This affects the reliability of the wind cone itself, which gives pilots a false reading about the wind direction and velocity,” Jones said. “In essence, the existing wind cone is obsolete and needs to be replaced.”

___

Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com