Grants could help Adams County Sheriff’s Office hire 4 additional deputies

Published 12:02 am Sunday, July 31, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Sheriff’s Office will approach the Adams County Board of Supervisors this week to ask for more than $20,000 to increase staffing through grants, though the sheriff contends that increase will be more than worth it.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said the ACSO has received two grants that can cover the cost of the four officers, though the county may have to provide some matching funds.

The first grant, for DUI enforcement, pays for the salary of a deputy provided the sheriff’s office covers the deputy’s fringe benefits.

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The second grant, which totals $176,585, will pay for three additional officers who will be assigned to criminal patrol, he said, though they will be certified to work in the area of mental health and crisis intervention. One of the new officers will serve as the victim’s services coordinator for the group, he said.

The grant has a $40,000 match, of which $20,000 can be in-kind contributions.

“We requested a waiver in reference to the remaining  $20,000, but just in case it’s not granted, we will respectfully ask our board to cover these small amounts,” Patten wrote in an email. “This is very little to ask, seeing that you will get four bodies on the street for less than 80 percent of what it would cost the county to employ four more officers otherwise.”

Patten said that “in these trying times” the sheriff’s office needs all the man- and woman-power it can get on the streets.

“Where else can you employ four deputies for less (than) $30,000?,” he said.

The board of supervisors is in the process of planning budgets for the coming fiscal year, which will start Oct. 1. While the sheriff can submit a proposed budget — and the county cannot dictate how he as an elected official uses funds — the board ultimately decides how much of certain county revenues it wants to direct to the ACSO.