Grant funding and cooperation bring opportunity to Pacific County agencies

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office and Pacific County Emergency Management jointly shared that collaboration and grant funding has allowed them to close gaps and enhance capabilities of emergency responders within the county by working together.

According to a release, grant funding was recently used to purchase two new Polaris XP 1000 All-Terrain Vehicles, and these vehicles were used for the first time this month as part of beach patrols over the Rod Run weekend.

 The ATVs were purchased for $35,196.80, paid entirely by State Homeland Security Region 3 through a Homeland Security Grant. 

Officials say that these ATVs will be used to reach some of the more rugged and diverse areas of the county, with the beaches and Willapa Hills both providing different access issues. The vehicles add benefits as the county works to rebuild a local search and rescue program,

Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Commander Mike Parker commented “Citizens have a lot of expectations of their Sheriff’s Office. One of those is to be able to reach every location within the jurisdiction they cover. These ATV’s are small, agile and provide a means to get to areas where trucks and even side by side ATV’s cannot reach.

Acquiring tools that will allow us to be able to respond in all weather and to every area within our County has been a priority of this office. PCEMA has proven to be an incredible partner to the Sheriff’s Office while we’re working on the objective of providing a faster and more capable service to the citizens of Pacific County in all weather and terrain.”

PCSO Chief Criminal Deputy Randy Wiegardt added, “I am grateful to Director McDougall for his unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of our community. The acquisition of two Polaris ATVs is a testament to his dedication and foresight. These versatile vehicles will serve as invaluable assets, allowing us to efficiently navigate our challenging terrain. The citizens of Pacific County will undoubtedly benefit from this enhanced capability, further ensuring their security and peace of mind.”

All first response agencies in Pacific County have an annual opportunity to apply for Homeland Security grant funding in two areas: Enduring Needs Funding and National Priority Area Funding.

In addition to the Polaris purchase, the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency was able to secure funding for the Long Beach Police Department for Ballistic Helmets and Shields the total cost for this equipment will be approximately $11,000.

 PCEMA is also completing the purchase of 16 portable radios for the Long Beach Police Department, South Bend Police Department and the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office. 

Once that project is complete, all four municipal police departments and the Sheriff’s office will be using identical radios thereby enhancing not only police inter-operability, but inter-operability with all fire/EMS agencies as well. 

PCEMA says that they were able to secure funding for every application they received in 2022 and 2023.

 A local volunteer Fire Department provided an enclosed trailer that was traded to the Sheriff’s Office in exchange for a used Sheriff’s Office Chevrolet Tahoe, further saving money by repurposing equipment already owned by agencies within Pacific County.

Sheriff Daniel Garcia shared, “It has been a very long time since our agency has had quads to be able to utilize for many different purposes such as Search and Rescue. This was made abundantly clear to me as we lacked many capabilities in the search for Fisherman Bryson Fitch (God rest his soul and protect his family).

So, I am very proud and excited of the collaborative work that was done between PCEMA and the Sheriff’s Office, in order to secure the grant to fund this huge asset to our County making us more effective to serve the People of Pacific County if, heaven forbid, we ever need them again.

Also, a big Thank You to Bay Center Fire Department for the trade of the trailer we are using to store and haul these quads, we are grateful for our great relationship with you!”

PCEMA Director Scott McDougall stated, “this demonstrates PCEMA’s commitment toward supporting teamwork and collaboration between all first response agencies in Pacific County.” McDougall went on to add, “just as we must depend on each other within the county, these projects also enhance our ability to support our partners throughout Region 3, as well as Wahkiakum and Clatsop Counties.”