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7:46 PM Wed, Sept. 19th

DPS money will help PV police buy surveillance equipment

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Prescott Valley police will use a grant to buy electronic surveillance equipment and to pay for detectives' overtime in order to reduce street crimes and burglaries in town. The $12,520 is the first Arizona Criminal Justice Grant PVPD has ever earned from the Department of Public Safety.

"We've always had a desire to be more proactive in following up on tips and doing more surveillance," said Prescott Valley Police Department spokesman P.J. Janik. "We have the right people in place in the criminal investigations section – an enormous amount of professionalism and experience – to take this opportunity to make a difference."

Janik said competition for the grant is "intense," and that PVPD had to submit "a pretty good proposal" to get it.

"The purpose of the grant is threefold: to prevent residential and commercial burglaries, to reduce street crime, and to locate missing children," Janik said. "We don't have an overabundance of missing children, so it was hard to justify why we should get the grant. I was overwhelmed when we received the lion's share of the $14,000 we had asked for in the proposal."

PVPD will use much of the money to support undercover operations for catching sellers of stolen property.

"Some of the second-hand sale of stolen property happens at yard sales and flea markets," Janik said. "Our local flea market is a legitimate business, but sometimes people do get in with stolen property. Not long ago police in Montana tipped us that a man would be selling thousands of dollars in stolen property at the flea market. We didn't have the money to make a purchase from him, so we had to watch until someone bought something before we could arrest him."

The grant, he said, will provide money for police to make undercover purchases of suspected stolen property.

In addition to paying detectives overtime for surveillance work, the grant will also buy a $3,000 device to aid the officers. Janik declined to identify the piece of equipment.

"I don't want to telegraph to the wrong people what we have," he said. "We want to have a little advantage, to keep it under wraps while we're testing it."

Contact the reporter at amerrill@prescottaz.com