ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
NEW ATHENS - Since he was hired in August 2004, Kirk has snagged more than $100,000 in grants for the department, a significant amount of money for a town that budgets about $350,000 a year for police protection.
"We have to hope and look for grants. Otherwise the money is not there," said Village Trustee Bryan G. Rausch. "Without him getting the grants, we could never have the items we have now."
Those items include a thermal imaging camera, a $13,000 piece of equipment that can detect heat. It's useful when searching for a missing person or grow lights nurturing marijuana plants.
The chief did ruffle a few feathers when he proposed a crackdown on teens possessing tobacco. State law prohibits stores from selling tobacco to those under 18, but it is up to each community to go after those who possess it. Some residents were concerned that their children could have criminal records for something so minor.
Kirk said the onus should be on both the store and teen - a view the Village Board agreed with in enacting an ordinance allowing police to ticket minors caught smoking.