By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – The value grant writer and administrator Katie Drewry adds to the Corinth Police Department is immeasurable, said Corinth Police Chief David Lancaster.
In about 18 months since Drewry joined the department on a part-time basis, the department has been awarded grants for much-needed replacement equipment and equipment upgrades.
“Without that role we wouldn’t be able to purchase all the equipment each year that we have,” Lancaster said. “All the radios that we’ve bought, defibrillators in cars and tasers came from grants she wrote, probably three or four times what we would have had.”
Drewry previously worked for the University of Mississippi Small Business Development Center on the campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College.
“I was considering a career change and about two years ago became certified in grant writing,” Drewry said. “Bowen Johnson, who heads the law enforcement training program at Northeast in Corinth, introduced me to the chief, and things evolved from there.”
The first grant proposal Drewry wrote for the department wasn’t funded, an application for a domestic violence coordinator, but it was because no grants were awarded in that program that year, the chief said.
“I think each grant she’s written for us since then has been funded,” he said.
Among the projects for which they sought and received funding was a training room and equipment – projection system, DVD player and other equipment – that was used by federal agents in town last summer to investigate an early suspect in the mailing of letters poisoned with ricin to President Obama and other officials.
The department also received a wrongful conviction grant that has allowed them to set up an interview room with recording equipment and cameras to make audio and video recordings of both the suspects being interviewed and the officers conducting the interviews.
“It’s a system that can also allow the supervisor to watch the interview in real time,” Lancaster said.
Drewry said there’s great satisfaction in doing work that is so beneficial to the community.
“Writing grants is a team effort, and I’m only one small part,” she said. “We all have to sit down together and look at the department needs. The chief is very proactive, with a lot of vision for tools to make the department very professional.”