County Commission applies for law enforcement grant

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

The Roosevelt County Commission is moving forward with a COPS grant, which gives the sheriff money to hire a new deputy.

Sheriff Darren Hooker said with all the stimulus money coming out of Washington, D.C., the money is filtering down for grants.

“This is a grant that will let us pay 100 percent of the salary for three years. After three years the county or the hiring agency will absorb the deputy,” Hooker said.”

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program allows states and local governments to support activities to prevent and control crime.

“What happens after three years and we don’t have the money to pay. Do we lay someone off?,” Commissioner Bill Cathey asked.

“We have several options, if we got to that point,” said Hooker. “If the same physical person is there, they cannot be done away with by the laws of the grant.

“We are looking to have as many deputies as we can have to provide the best coverage for the citizens of the county,” Hooker said. “We patrol over 2,500 square miles. When I started here at the Sheriffs Office way back when, there was only seven of us. Now we’re up to fourteen.” Hooker said

In other business:

• Commissioners approved an increase in the clerk user fee for a software purchase. County Clerk Janet Collins said the money is to upgrade the software for the courthouse .

“The user fee is, over time, someone files a document in my office, I get some money,” Collins said. “Some of the money goes to the county, but a portion of that fee goes to me to use for new computers and software in order to keep the records up.”

The software is used for filing mortgages, deeds, real estate and miscellaneous public documents.

• Commissioners allocated the sheriff’s seizure funds to purchase additional equipment for deputies.