If a grant application is approved, the Bulloch County Sheriff's Department will possibly add three deputies to its roster.
Bulloch County commissioners voted Tuesday morning to approve the COP (Community Oriented Policing) grant application after Bulloch County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins submitted the written request to commissioners.
Akins also spoke during the meeting, and told commissioners the grant, if approved, may take months.
Funded by the U. S. Department of Justice, the grant would pay 75 percent of the new deputies' salaries and fringe benefits, with the county picking up the tab for the remaining 25 percent, he said.
The grant is "geared to providing resources to local agencies aimed at promoting community policing," he said. "One source of great interest to our agency is personnel."
Since 1994, more than 125,000 officers nationwide have been hired under this grant, and Bulloch County has been a recipient in the past, Akins said. The grant application deadline is June 23.
"In applying for this hiring grant, we hope to add a maximum of three deputies to patrol. This is by no means certain as grant funding has become extremely competitive since 2008," he said.
The grant will pay 75 percent of salary and fringe benefits for 36 months. Bulloch County would be required to retain the new hires for an additional 12 months afterward, he told commissioners.
According to Akins, there are around 55 certified law enforcement officers, with 25 being road patrol deputies, on staff. The Bulloch County Jail employs 65 certified jail officers.
"Obtaining personnel in this manner takes the greater part of the burden of financing new deputies off the county and shifts it to the federal government," he said.
Commissioners were unanimous in approving the application, and the next step is submitting the application to the Department of Justice, Akins said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.