Commissioners could approve more deputies

By on Monday, May 9th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners meets today (Monday) at 10 a.m. On the agenda, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office has submitted to the commissioners a proposal asking them to approve an application for a U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program grant. This new grant is lasts for four years.

The fiscal year 2022 COPS Hiring Program provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers and to increase their community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts.

According to the grant proposal, Washington state has the lowest per capita law enforcement officer per 1,000 residents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To get Walla Walla County to average, 19 deputies need to be added to WWCSO’s roster. WWCSO recognizes funding 19 deputies would be challenging but said five deputies is a workable amount as far as funding and training purposes go.

The grant does require up-front funds and a minimum of 25 percent matching funds for salary and benefits for the first three years and a requirement to maintain these positions through at least a fourth year without allowing any attrition reduction in authorized staffing. The total costs for five deputy positions over four years, based on 2022 wages, would be $2,621,810. The maximum federal share (COPS grant) per deputy is $125,000 over three years ($41,667/yearly).