Cole County Sheriff’s office receives schools, law enforcement grants

The Cole County Sheriff’s Department will have a little more than $200,000 to spend or distribute over the next two years.

Sheriff Greg White announced last week his agency had received $26,250 in traffic safety grants, while U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton reported the department had captured $176,457 from the U.S. Justice Department for security enhancements at local schools.

“Basically, more than $142,000 of it is for technology equipment,” White explained, “digital cameras and servers, bus and campus radio systems, security doors, security lighting, access control and visitor background checks.

“The other part, almost $34,000, is contracts and consultants — for school safety assessments, which are required, and for system installation and testing.”

The money will go to all four Cole County public school districts.

“Literally, none of it goes to the sheriff’s office,” White said, “but it has to have a law enforcement nexus.

“We got the information from the superintendents — what they thought they needed — and then we applied for it.”

The money comes from the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) “Secure Our Schools” grant program.

Although officials just were notified last week, the grant actually became effective Sept. 1, and the grant money must be used by Aug. 31, 2012.

White said the traffic safety grants also are federal grants, but came to the sheriff’s office through Missouri’s Transportation Department Highway Safety Division.

And that money wasn’t available until Friday, and must be used by next Sept. 30.

The 2010-11 grants provided 37 percent more money than last year’s grants, White said.

Cole County will use $10,250 to pay for five sobriety checkpoints, where all traffic is stopped at a particular location.

Another $8,000 will help with DWI enforcement, with focused patrols looking for impaired drivers as a way to augment the sobriety checkpoints, White said.

And another $8,000 will be used to pay officers’ overtime for hazardous moving violations enforcement, where officers focus on speeding, driving while intoxicated, lane usage on multi-lane highways and other moving violations.

“We feel we are making a difference,” the sheriff said, adding that, “thanks to these (grant) efforts, unincorporated Cole County alcohol-related deaths have declined since 2006.”

And, statewide, MoDOT has reported the “lowest number of traffic deaths since 1950,” he said.

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