The Wisconsin Public Safety Foundation is seeking applications from local emergency response agencies for their annual Rewarding Responders Grant which could result in up to $2,000 for agencies in northeast and north central Wisconsin to purchase equipment or training to improve public safety.
In 2019 the Rhinelander Police Department received a grant in the amount of about $1,700 which was used to purchase flashlights and multi-blade knives that include rescue tools for quickly cutting seatbelts or smashing car windows in an emergency.
Capt. Ron Lueneberg applied for the grant on behalf of the department, and he said the tools that were purchased for the officers were something it would have been hard to find the funds for in its own budget.
"The grants do help fund extra things," Lueneberg said, adding that without the grant, each individual officer would have had to purchase them out of their own pocket.
The WPS Foundation began offering the Rewarding Responders Grant in 2014.
Since then over $300,000 has been provided through the grant to help nearly 175 agencies.
Some of the equipment funded through the 2019 grants include firefighting helmets, water rescue suits, natural gas monitors and heavy-duty rescue saws, according to a press release from the foundation.
Lueneberg encourages other area emergency service agencies to apply for the grant.
"There are always items that can be purchased for police departments and fire departments and sheriff's departments and so forth for the purposes of emergency services," Lueneberg said.
"There are always items that could be purchased with those grant funds that would be of great use to first responders."
He said that he doesn't know if any of the RPD officers have had to use the tools because they could be used on a daily basis yet not necessarily mentioned in police reports.
"Yet they are very handy items to have if you need them," Lueneberg said.
Interested departments can find more information and application paperwork at https://tinyurl.com/y8yw9c6s. Applications must be received by June 15.
Grant recipients will receive notification by Aug. 31.
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