Ithaca, New York (WBNG Binghamton) In the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., where law enforcement have been criticized for their use of force with military tactics and equipment, residents in Ithaca stood together Wednesday against the same capability in their city.
The city has been issued a $100,000 grant from the U.S department of Homeland Security to be used for the city's SWAT team. The city’s common council is expected to approve the grant on Sept. 3.
As of now the grant will be used to fund SWAT training and to buy a robot that could be used in different ways. Though there is public concern with the possibilities of the grant, law enforcement officials have remained firm in their stance the additional funds are needed.
“People don’t understand what SWAT teams do. They are a life-saving entity. It’s a group of officers who receive specialized training to deescalate, defuse and save lives and our team has done that successfully” said Ithaca Chief John R. Barber.
Ithaca resident Neil Oolie would like to see the money from the grant put toward different equipment for officers.
"I would like to see the money from that grant designated to provide body cameras for the police officers to wear and include audio as well as video," he said.
Residents are asking for the money to be used for programs such as a Community Action team. The Ithaca Police Department did receive some money Wednesday they'll use for new radio systems.