Higgins and Restaino highlight public safety improvements funded by US bailout

NFPD Superintendent John Faso with new gear. (Image courtesy of Congressman Brian Higgins’ office)

Fri, August 19, 2022 5:50 p.m.

√ Leaders present new police and fire equipment and detailed plans for additional investments

Congressman Brian Higgins and City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino announced several investments in public safety made possible by more than $57 million in federal funding received by the city as part of the American rescue. Niagara Falls plans to invest more than $11.4 million of its U.S. bailout funding in public safety, including new and improved police and fire equipment.

“Communities rallied to respond to the pandemic, and police and firefighters were among those on the front lines,” Higgins said. “US bailout funding is helping communities like Niagara Falls come back stronger than before, with investments that make our first responders and the neighborhoods they serve safer.”

Restaino added, “For too long, our public safety professionals have suffered from inadequate and ineffective equipment. This is not only a disservice to the brave men and women who serve in these departments, but it makes it difficult for these professionals to do their jobs to protect and serve the public. Our administration is committed to correcting this problem, and with the help of our U.S. bailout funding, we are able to do just that – and our city is grateful that our Congressman and her colleagues have supported local communities in this effort.”

The mayor and city council previously authorized purchases using part of the $11.4 million set aside by the city for public safety. This funding enabled the purchase of seven thermal imaging cameras, air pack regulators and five defibrillators for the Niagara Falls Fire Department, as well as new vehicles, portable radios and 90 body cameras for the department Niagara Falls Police Department.

Separately, US bailout funding was set aside for improvements to city-owned buildings. Funding from this allocation supports the replacement of windows, doors and new HVAC units at fire stations.

Further action by city council this week authorized another round of public safety investments.

For the fire department, additional funding of $33,400 from the U.S. Rescue Plan will support 35 new hoses and fittings, six mounted fire truck computers, and several pieces of equipment for fire scene lighting, documentation and evidence collection, including a reciprocating saw, oscillating tool kit, lights, gas detector and cameras.

With the newly approved funding of $267,071, the NFPD will also purchase four additional vehicles, 30 patrol computers and docking stations, and 13 dashboard-mounted traffic monitors.

Additionally, the city creates two police stations located at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building and the Niagara Falls Water Treatment Plant. Substations will allow for increased efficiency when police respond to calls.

Through a separate program, the City of Niagara Falls helps local businesses protect their property. With US bailout funding, business owners can receive up to $700 for safety equipment.

Funding for state and local governments was approved in the U.S. bailout, backed by Higgins and passed by the House of Representatives in February 2021, to help communities recover from the pandemic. Municipalities received half of the federal funding in May 2021 and the other half in 2022.