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Sheriff faces likely choice between land for jail or grant-funded deputies
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (April 19, 2010) — Faced with a choice between applying for a grant that would add more deputies to his department or trying to find a way to build a larger jail, Sheriff J.B. King said during Monday morning’s county commission meeting that he’d probably prefer a larger jail.

That’s not the answer King wanted to provide to the commissioners. When he arrived at the meeting, he told commissioners that he had good news.

“Last year I came in here and we discussed the COPS grant before they sent it off. We were turned down for the COPS grant and they said if any supplemental funding became available, they would consider us,” King said. “The bottom line is last year they funded the first nine police agencies in Missouri … that included Kansas City and St. Louis police departments for 100 officers. If memory serves me right they only funded 116 officers and 100 of them went to Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Since the big boys are already out of the way, we’ve got to have a fairly decent chance of coming up with an award on this grant,” King said. “The reason I am coming over here today is to make sure you all are still in support of this.”

Responding to questions from the commissioners, King said the COPS grant for which he applied last year would require a county match agreement. In return for obtaining two extra deputies, the federal government grant would pay three full years of the deputies’ salary with the last year in 2013 or 2014 being paid by the county.

“The reason I bring this up today is in June of this year they will send me a message and I will have two weeks to update our grant with whatever they are asking for,” King said.

Commissioner Ricky Zweerink said he’s worried the county won’t be able to pay the salaries for the two additional deputies in the fourth year.

“Do you have the $90,000 for the extra year we will have to pay?” Zweerink said.

King clarified that the cost would be closer to $66,000.

“This is a glorious opportunity to get four full years of work for one years’ pay, but those are the parameters so that’s why I am here,” King said.

“Which would be more of a priority to you as a sheriff, getting this or getting land for a jail?” asked Presiding Commissioner Don McCulloch. “The odds of us being able to do both is low.”

McCulloch said a jail architect company King had hired had said the county will likely have to have 3 to 4 acres of land.

“Me asking these questions does not mean I’m opposed to it; I want to make that clear,” McCulloch said.

King said if forced to choose, building a new jail is a more critical need.

“My priority is I think we need the jail because as Commissioner (Bill) Farnham touched on earlier, if all the counties are going to be housing their own prisoners, we’re going to have no place to send our prisoners,” King said.

The commissioners then held a closed session to discuss real estate matters.

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