Hays County officials hope to tap federal economic stimulus dollars to fund 12 new deputies for the sheriff’s office.
Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff is applying for a total of more than $2.3 million in grants to pay for the salaries of patrol, transportation and warrant officers from programs enacted with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants are administered by the U.S. Justice department.
“As a fast-growing county, we know we’re going to need more officers in the future. This is a way we can do it that will save the taxpayers some money,” Ratliff told the commissioners court, which approved the application 5-0 on Tuesday.
In an interview after the meeting, he said the state average for local law enforcement officers to residents is 1.9 to 1,000. Excluding the populations of San Marcos and Kyle, which have their own police forces, Hays County is 35-40 officers short of that threshold, Ratliff said.
Although not a matching grant, the county will have to equip and clothe the officers, and cover the sheriff’s office’s standard 4 percent annual step increases, all of which is expected to total about $570,000. The county is also on the hook for retaining the added positions for the first year following the grant’s three-year term, which amounts to $851,852, according to Ratliff’s calculations.
In other law-enforcement related action on Tuesday, the commissioners court certified the Hays County Law Enforcement Association, a local chapter of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, as the representative of rank-and-file officers under collective bargaining approved by voters in November.
The court also authorized a new sergeant position, whose $36,000 starting salary will be absorbed in the sheriff’s office’s budget for the current fiscal year.
— BRAD ROLLINSEmail | Print