Next week, the Winthrop Harbor Police Department will receive the
Bell OH-58A helicopter through a state program that secures federal
surplus equipment on behalf of local law enforcement agencies
statewide -- the Law Enforcement Support Office coordinated by
Central Management Services. The helicopter, originally purchased by
the U.S. Department of Defense for $92,290, will help monitor and
secure nuclear facilities located approximately 60 miles north of
Chicago, as well as enhance the public safety services along the
Illinois lakefront of Lake Michigan.
"Police officers and other safety officials work diligently to
promote public safety throughout the state, and Illinois government
is doing its part to ensure these everyday heroes have access to the
equipment they need to keep people safe," said Paul Campbell,
director of Central Management Services. "Governor Blagojevich has
challenged state agencies to heighten their support of public safety
efforts, and we've answered that call. Our efforts range widely,
from securing cars, computers and helicopters for police agencies to
equipping surplus cars for drug surveillance programs. The surplus
federal equipment that we've secured for law enforcement officials
at no cost plays an important role in counterterrorism and drug
enforcement activities in Illinois."
Through Central Management Services, law enforcement agencies
statewide annually obtain millions of dollars in equipment that they
need to operate effectively. As the statewide coordinator for the
national Law Enforcement Support Office program, CMS works to locate
and secure vehicles, furniture, electronics and other unneeded
federal property to match the logistical requirements of hundreds of
state, county and municipal police agencies in Illinois. Priority is
given to agencies that use the surplus U.S. Department of Defense
property for drug enforcement and counterterrorism purposes.
"This helicopter adds another significant capability to Illinois'
homeland security arsenal and also will enhance our ability to
safeguard the critical water supply that Lake Michigan represents,"
said Col. Jill Morgenthaler, the governor's deputy chief of staff
for public safety.
This helicopter is the second Defense Department helicopter that
CMS has secured for Illinois. Last year, CMS coordinated and
approved the transfer of the state's first OH-58 to Countryside
Police Department in Will County. Since being placed into service in
October 2005, the helicopter has logged more than 100 flight hours
on homeland security, drug enforcement, and search and rescue
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"As a former sheriff, I know firsthand the difficulties that
budget restraints often place on purchasing public safety equipment,
which is why the LESO program is so important," said state Sen.
George Shadid, D-Peoria. "I commend CMS for working long hours to
locate and secure this essential equipment for police agencies in
Illinois, and I fully support their efforts."
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, CMS obtained surplus
equipment worth $5.1 million for Illinois police agencies -- up 34
percent, or $1.3 million, from the previous year and nearly double
the $2.7 million provided in fiscal 2004.
Many communities in Illinois benefited through the program last
year, receiving valuable public safety equipment worth tens of
thousands of dollars:
Tazewell County Sheriff's Department, $610,000
Marengo Police Department, $291,582
Marion County Sheriff's Department, $291,000
Will County Sheriff's Department, $262,000
Oakbrook Police Department, $212,000
Bolingbrook Police Department, $205,000
South Surburban Emergency Response Team, $198,591
Forest Preserve District of Will County, $193,754
Litchfield Police Department, $155,058
Deer Creek Police Department, $152,754
Washington County Sheriff's Department, $144,250
Fon du Lac Police Department, $142,628
Toulon Police Department, $120,393
Wyoming Police Department, $107,812
Lockport Police Department, $106,775
Somonauk Police Department, $102,348
Altogether, the program serves more than 680 state, county,
municipal and special task forces across Illinois. In January 2006,
CMS was recognized by the Chicago Police Department with an
Appreciation of Service award for its successful efforts to locate
and approve the transfer of federal property, including Kevlar
vests, helmets, information technology equipment and more for use in
Chicago-area precincts. Last year CMS approved the transfer of more
than $725,000 in property to the department.
Department of Central Management Services