Feds deliver $485K for public safety in Johnston

U.S. Rep. Magaziner announces funding for town’s Police Department

Johnston Sun Rise ·

Johnston’s Police Department received $485,000 in federal funding last Monday that will be used for emergency services equipment. This funding comes from one of U.S. Rep. Seth Magaziner’s 15 grants across Rhode Island’s Second District, part of the fiscal year 2024 federal budget.

“Supporting local law enforcement is crucial to keeping Rhode Islanders safe, and we must ensure they have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively,” Magaziner said during remarks at the Monday press conference. “I am pleased to secure this federal funding to update and modernize the Johnston Police Department’s emergency services equipment, which is key to responding to critical situations quickly and reducing accidents on the road.”

Joining Magaziner to celebrate this funding was Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena Jr.

“Keeping residents safe is a top priority in Johnston,” Polisena said. “This funding will further improve radio communication between officers, enhance traffic mitigation to keep our roads safer, provide speed monitoring devices to reduce both motorist and pedestrian injuries and also equipment that will keep the men and women of the Johnston Police Department safer while on duty. These are all quality-of-life issues that every Johnston resident cares about. I’m grateful to Rep. Magaziner for his continuous ability to deliver results for Johnston.”

Polisena, who used to work as a public defender, also emphasized how this funding will help the town’s police department, which he said “has been underfunded.”

“You can’t imagine what these men and women go through every day, it’s a very difficult job,” Polisena said. “Funding the police is one of the most fundamental things you can have in an organized society.”

Polisena posed a question: “You call 911 and no one answers — what then?”

Johnston Police Chief Mark Vieira also shared his gratitude.

“The Johnston Police Department stands ready to protect and serve Rhode Islanders, and this funding will be used to purchase new equipment to improve emergency preparedness and response times,” Vieira said. “I thank Rep. Magaziner for his efforts to support local law enforcement and get this funding across the finish line.”

This funding will be used for speed-calming and mitigation devices, upgrading portable radio units and vehicles for the special services unit. As for this funding’s origins, Polisena said he first met with Magaziner last year about securing an earmark for Johnston’s police department.

“That was the first and only thing I said to him is [the] police department,” Polisena said. “They have been a little bit underfunded when it comes to equipment in the past, so I think it’s only right that they were the priority coming out of the gate.”

There’s also an expectation that equipment purchased by this grant will improve quality of life, predominantly by lowering speeding.

“Our number one citizen complaint at the Johnston Police Department is speeding,” Vieira said. “So, those are the concerns of the residents in terms of quality of life issues and this much-needed equipment will certainly address those concerns of the residents.”

Other Johnston elected officials in attendance for this announcement included state Reps. Deborah Fellela, Edward Cardillo Jr. and Ramon Perez. Councilmembers Linda Folcarelli, Lauren Garzone and Alfred Carnevale were also present.

Johnston will also see an additional federal earmark. The other earmark, for $2,080,000, will help fund stormwater management in an effort to reduce flooding. Town residents are also expected to vote on a $40 million stormwater management bond in November (also aimed at flood mitigation).

Magaziner also announced additional grants for the neighboring communities of Cranston and Warwick, which included $344,000 to fund new support vehicles for Cranston’s K-9 units and $530,437 for a new emergency operations center in Warwick.

This story was originally posted by Johnston Sun Rise. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.