MASON COUNTY, Wash. - The Mason County Sheriff's Office is pleased to announce the award under the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 of $611,610 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's "Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement to Combat Crime and Drugs" solicitation. Mason County's application was considered among the hundreds submitted by organizations serving rural populations throughout the US. The amount awarded constitutes the largest Recovery and Reinvestment Act award in the State of Washington to this date.
The two year grant provides funding for three full-time deputies, including patrol vehicles, bullet proof vests and other equipment along with funding for one corrections officer. The grant requires the Mason County to demonstrate an increase in crime patrols and reduced overtime at the Mason County Jail. The grant also funds one administrative clerk to support the Deputies in the Special Operations Group. The Special Operations Group is the investigative body responsible for narcotics arrests and arrests of high profile fugitives. The clerk will process tips on crime and drug activity, and perform administrative tasks making investigators available for additional field work.
In reviewing the successful grant, Finance Manager Mary Jean Hrbacek commented: "Assembling the grant application was challenging but collecting the data to demonstrate the need for law enforcement funding in Mason County was not.” The application noted the loss of personnel due to recent budget cuts, but also listed some of Sheriff Salisbury's initiatives to improve public safety. Those initiatives include providing cell phones for Deputies official use, upgrading equipment in patrol cars, and Mason County citizens support of the Office that include volunteers donating their time, and donated office spaces throughout the County for deputies use. Recently citizen groups have provided private contributions for the training and maintenance of a drug dog team. These initiatives also contributed to the success of the application.
In addition to this grant, the Sheriff's Office was awarded $77,445 from a separate Recovery and Reinvestment grant to outfit patrol cars with computers. This advancement will permit silent dispatching for critical operations as well as real time access to databases with federal and state outstanding warrants and stolen cars.
In these challenging economic times, public safety is still the number one priority of the Sheriff and he will continue to explore all funding opportunities for the benefit of Mason County.