BETHALTO – Two Farmers Insurance agents gifted the Bethalto Police Department with more tools of their trade Monday afternoon.

David Scott and Danielle Chester, who both work for the agency, gave the Bethalto Police Department an equipment grant of two portable scales, a tabletop scale and a few high-capacity USB drives. Bethalto Police Chief Craig Welch said the value of the equipment may be right at $1,000 and promised it would aid officers in both drug enforcement and public safety. The department's triple beam scale was in need of replacement, and precise weights are imperative for drug cases.

“With cannabis laws and other drug laws, weights can be the difference between an arrest and a civil citation,” Welch said. “We don't want people going to jail for a small amount, which should only get them a ticket.”

If Illinois follows the nationwide trend of pot legalization, Welch said the scales would still be necessary to the department for other drugs, which carry different charges based on weight.

Alongside the scales, the high-capacity USB drives will aid the police department with public safety, Welch said. He said many people and businesses with security cameras have digital storage, which can be hard to transfer due to file sizes. These USB drives will allow the police department to accommodate those large files, which will make crimes involving digital surveillance easier to solve.

Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at cory@riverbender.com

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