Eight cities – including Gadsden – will receive money from a federal grant to support public safety and crime fighting initiatives in the Northern District of Alabama.

Gadsden Police Sgt. John Hallman said Gadsden will receive money to purchase a bomb suit and other equipment for the department’s bomb squad. The grant is an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program award. A few weeks ago, the Etowah County Commission approved acceptance of a JAG grant, with the intention that the county’s portion of the grant revenue would go to the GPD to make the bomb suit purchase possible.

The United States Department of Justice awarded 20 grants, amounting to nearly seven million dollars to support public safety and crime fighting initiatives throughout the Northern District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town announced last week.

Nine north Alabama counties — Calhoun, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Madison, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa — will receive funding to enhance public safety services through various Department of Justice grants.

Eight cities: Anniston, Bessemer, Birmingham, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, along with DeKalb and St. Clair counties are receiving funding through the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance and JAG program.

Under the JAG program, the cities will receive a total amount of $1,534,680 to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime based for their own state and local needs and conditions. JAG funds will be used to support all components of the criminal justice system, from multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces, to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, justice information enforcement, and programs aimed at reducing crime and/or enhancing public/officer safety.