When COVID ravaged the world, the country, the state, and even the city of Rosenberg, everyone had to make changes.
Lucky for the Rosenberg Police Department, those changes were funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act.
The city of Rosenberg has received $2.1 million of the $134 million in federal CARES Act funds allocated to Fort Bend County.
Payments from the $2.1 million fund may only be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.
When creating the budget for the 2021 fiscal year, council members included the replacement of body cameras and in-car video systems for the Rosenberg police department. After reviewing the CARES Act funding, city staff found that the equipment are eligible expenditures.
Although the police department lobby is closed to the public, if you were to walk to the front doors, the first thing you’d be greeted with is a motion sensor detector that opens the front door.
Immediately upon entering, there is a sanitation station. Further, there are sanitation stations set up all across the department to ensure cleanliness in the wake of the pandemic.
Police Chief Jonathan White explained that the department doesn’t want the officers hanging around the office for fear of spread of the potentially deadly disease. But if officers are at the department, there have been cubicles added to the offices for social distancing measures. Additionally, there are signs every few feet reminding staff to wear masks and social distance from one another.
Changes to adhere to the pandemic aren’t just in-office, though.
White said the police officer body camera/in-car video systems have made things a lot easier for officers to work with as little outside contact as possible.
In each vehicle, officers now have their own laptops.
“What has happened is we’ve been blessed with these COVID funds,” Mayor Bill Benton explained when the city received the grant last fall. “We have an opportunity to, instead of spending it our of our general fund, we have an opportunity now to spend it from these COVID funds, which will save the city from the general fund.
According to City Manager John Maresh, the city has gotten approval from the county on these projects.
“I am glad to see this money being put to good use and get us where we need to go to ensure our citizens get the services they deserve without dipping into our general fund,” council member Jacob Balderas said in October.