Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell will use a federal grant to purchase 40 gas masks to replace old and outdated gas masks for his patrol deputies.
$13,651 in federal funds through the 2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant will be used to purchase the equipment. In 2017, the sheriff’s office used $12,366 in Edward Byrne Memorial Grant funds to purchase 40 riot helmets and face shields for deputies.
The Edward Byrne grant is named after a New York City police officer who was murdered in 1988. Officer Byrne was sitting in his patrol car watching a home for a complaint of illegal activity. He was distracted by a man who knocked on the passenger side window of his patrol car as a second man crept up on the driver’s side and shot Byrne 5 times in the head. He was only 22.
The murder made national headlines. George H.W. Bush carried Byrne’s badge with him on his campaign for President in 1988.
Afterwards, the US Justice Department named a yearly grant to law enforcement agencies across the US in his memory.