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      Federal grant allows Ithaca SWAT to buy robot to improve safety

      A new federal grant is making a local impact for law enforcement in Upstate New York. The Ithaca Police Department SWAT Team has been awarded $100,000 in federal funding as a part of the Tactical Team Grant Program.

      The Department of Homeland Security provided the grant to improve and develop tactical team capabilities through equipment, training, and planning projects that support counter terrorism missions.

      "This grant money is awesome for us. It will enable our SWAT Team to continue to deliver safe and effective SWAT operations for our community when the time calls for it," said Chief of Police John R. Barber. The SWAT team is a Joint-Jurisdictional Team comprised of officers from the Ithaca Police Department and the Tompkins County Sheriffs Department.

      Barber says it the funding will be used to help the SWAT team maintain their services, but they'll also purchase a robot for tactical operations, new chemical suits, and night vision goggles, among other uses.

      "Our SWAT Team is known for its ability to deliver top-notch SWAT operations and this additional funding will certainly help our officers to keep doing so," said Tompkins County Sheriff Lansing.

      Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick also commented on the funding announcement. "Our SWAT Team provides a necessary but dangerous service to our community, and I am pleased to see that they have received additional funding to further enhance what they do for us."