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Butte County Sheriff gets the go-ahead to apply for COPS grant

By Lacey Peterson Black Hills PioneerMay 18, 2019

BELLE FOURCHE — The Butte County Sheriff’s Office is seeking support from a federal grant to fund a new deputy position.

Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere told the county commission during its May 7 meeting that at two law enforcement conferences he’d recently attended, a push has been made to offer grant opportunities for rural law enforcement agencies.

“Both of those talked about the Department of Justice pushing to implement the COPS grant to support rural sheriff’s offices,” he said.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a department within the Department of Justice, is responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

In the past, the grant did not fit the needs of the sheriff’s office, Lamphere said, “Because of the criteria and the reporting that was needed.”

Some of the funding requirements have been augmented, making the process simpler and suiting the needs of the county more, Lamphere said.

“What it boils down to is that they’re going to make them more accessible to smaller sheriff’s offices,” he said.

In the past, the grant Lamphere was considering was a matching grant, meaning that whatever amount was granted to the sheriff’s office would need to be partially matched by the county. The way the grant was structured prior, he said, the federal agency funding started at 90% in the first year, decreased to 50% in the second, 25% in the third, and by the fourth year, the county would be fully responsible for the of the cost of the additional staff member.

With the new two-year program, those terms have changed.

“There’s no matching, it’s (a) 100% (funded) grant opportunity,” he said.

Lamphere said he’d like to start the application process, explaining it likely wouldn’t create a position until 2020.

“It doesn’t commit us to anything other than when I come back to you with what the brass tax are as to what our (options would be),” he said.

The application deadline is May 28.

“It’ll give us a start, we’ll see where we wind up with it,” Lamphere said.

The sheriff’s office currently has four full-time deputies and a handful of reserve deputies.

Lamphere’s hope with brining on a new deputy would be to reduce the amount of overtime paid through his department.

Lamphere asked for the commission’s approval to apply for the grant and the commission unanimously voted to approve the request. Commissioner Karrol Herman was absent from the meeting.

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