Lewiston-Auburn school resource officers are getting new radios so they can better communicate beyond school grounds, thanks to a federal grant of nearly $400,000.

The $376,481 grant was announced Friday by Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. It will allow police to buy 138 emergency portable radios that will put school staff in direct contact with 911 dispatchers. The portable radios will have GPS tracking that will pinpoint the location of any threat.

Lewiston and Auburn have 19 public schools, including two high schools, two middle schools and 13 elementary schools. Each city has three school resource officers with radios, but those radios don’t transmit beyond school grounds.

“The school officers now carry two radios, a school radio and a police radio,” said Auburn Interim Chief Jason Moen. “The two systems don’t talk to each other.” The new radios will bring the school system into contact with the new radio system that both Lewiston and Auburn are building. “It will allow us to have instant communication with schools.”

The Auburn Police Department wrote the grant earlier this year on behalf of both Lewiston and Auburn, Moen said. The new radio system is planned to be in place in 2020, Moen said.

The grant is from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services.

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