Va. law enforcement get $33M boost

Natural Bridge Zoo-Complaint (Image 1)
Natural Bridge Zoo-Complaint (Image 1)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Law enforcement agencies across Virginia are sharing $33 million to pay for new equipment and training.

The money comes from the $1.5 billion Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay to federal and state governments to settle allegations that it promoted the drug Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Virginia received $115 million for leading the investigation.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli distributed the money at an event in Richmond on Wednesday. Grant amounts for each locality were based on proposals submitted by the agencies.

The funds will be used to provide training to school resource officers and SWAT teams, Cuccinelli’s office said in a news release. The money also will pay for new police cruisers, new computers and portable radios, bulletproof vests, training shooting range and night vision goggles. It’ll also help pay for gang reduction programs.

Specifically, Cuccinelli’s office said the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office will buy a rapid response vehicle for the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to use in searches during child exploitation and abduction cases throughout Southwest Virginia. And the Virginia State Police will use $1.5 million to build a simulation facility to train officers in the entry and clearing of different building layouts.

Several departments also will be buying more up-to-date automated fingerprint systems and equipment for their forensic labs to help them better gather and analyze evidence.

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