PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Police Department is receiving more than $70,000 in state grants toward helping victims of domestic violence and enhancing its police auxiliary unit.
For the fourth consecutive year, the state Executive Office of Public Safety & Security has awarded city police $30,500 to employ a civilian advocate within the department. The advocate spends 27 hours a week counseling, supporting and seeking services for women, children and others in domestic abuse situations, according to Police Chief Michael J. Wynn.
The remaining $40,320 is a first-time award under the state’s Volun teers in Police Services grant program. The funding from the Massa chu setts Emer gency Man age ment Agency (MEMA) doubles what the city will spend on its 10-member auxiliary unit this fiscal year. Wynn said the money will pay for additional training and upgraded equipment for unarmed officers who provide support at crime, accident or disaster scenes.
The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously agreed to accept both grants, which must during fiscal 2013.
Since 2009, the civilian advocate has kept close tabs on domestic abuse victims by helping them get the services and support they need.
"In the event we deal with a victim of domestic violence, the advocate is able to follow through on their case," he said.
The advocate also provides outreach and training for victim services counselors and police officers.
"We also need to improve their equipment," Wynn added. "We are in the process of upgrading all police radios, but didn’t have enough funding for the auxiliary unit’s radios."