Two area law enforcement agencies will be getting grants from the state, Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Attorney General, announced Friday.
The Sequoyah County sheriff’s Office will receive $35,000, and the Webbers Falls Police Department will receive $20,000.
Hunter said more than $1.3 million in Safe Oklahoma Grants will be distributed between 22 statewide law enforcement agencies.
Hunter said the funds will help the agencies directly target crime in their communities, upgrade antiquated equipment or purchase new resources.
“One of the first steps to making communities safer is to help our law enforcement partners by providing additional resources for better equipment or to fund innovative strategies on community outreach,” Hunter said. “This grant has proven to have a tremendous impact in reducing crime across the state.”
The program works by allowing law enforcement agencies to submit proposals to the attorney general’s office stating how the funds will be used to reduce crime. Grants are awarded on a one year basis.
Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane explained he is required to use the $35,000 grant to his department to pay for deputies’ overtime.
“Yes, I’m happy,” Lane said Monday. “The grant puts one extra person on patrol for the next year.”
Hunter said the grant continues to help both rural and metro-area agencies with basic policing necessities as well as advanced technology to gain intelligence on gang violence.
“Each department faces unique challenges depending on location,” Hunter said. “Earlier this year, Tulsa Police Department mobilized a 50-officer unit to take down a drug and weapons ring with the help of grant money. If you go across the state to Altus, they need money to upgrade radios that are 15-years-old. Each need is different, but they all are necessary to fight crime.
“It is an honor to distribute the money across the state to protect Oklahomans.”
The Safe Oklahoma Grant Program was created in 2012 by the Oklahoma Legislature through House Bill 3052. The legislation directs appropriation be made fully available at the end of each fiscal year to the attorney general’s office to distribute to local law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s departments.
After the applications are reviewed, the grants are made on an annual basis. Grants are awarded on a one-year period and continued funding is not guaranteed. Applicants must include the city’s violent crime rate for the previous five years.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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