ROCKFORD, IL - Thanks to three federal grants, the City of Rockford will be able to "retire" a portion of their aging fleet of vehicles, many of which have traveled over 100,000 miles, and replace them with new squad cars, according to the Rockford Register Star.

A $100,000 Justice Assistance Grant from the Justice Department will be used to buy four squad cars.

In the spring, the Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department won a $1.5 million JAG, of which $900,000 went to the Rockford Police Department. Rockford Deputy police Chief Lori Sweeney said a portion of that money will be used to purchase four squad cars and one sport utility vehicle. Also, a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority will be used on two squad cars at $21,511 each.

The Edward Byrne Memorial JAG Program provides local governments with funding to support a variety of programs, including law enforcement, prosecution and court, drug treatment and enforcement, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

In fiscal 2009, BJA processed 1,420 local and 56 state applications totaling more than $480 million in JAG funding, about $318 million to states and territories, and $165 million to local units of government, an increase of nearly $321 million from fiscal 2008.

Sweeney said the department tries to replace its older high-mileage vehicles every five to seven years before they become liabilities. He told the Register Star an order will be placed to purchase 10 Ford Crown Victorias, eight marked and two unmarked squad cars, and one supervisor's vehicle, a Ford Expedition.

Once the vehicles arrive, equipment such as the cages and lights bar on the vehicles being replaced will be added to the new ones, reported the Register Star.