County must push for COPS

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lawrence County’s leadership needs to make a hard push to get COPS to put more cops on the streets.

Last week, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless informed the county commissioners that he was less than optimistic that he would receive grant funds from the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring and retention grant program as the department has in years past.

The problem is that hundreds of agencies across the nation are in competition for these same dollars to offset the ever-growing problem of higher cost of law enforcement that is compounded by shrinking government revenue.

But, the door may not be fully closed because Lawless said he hadn’t been denied the grant but yet had not been approved.

We urge the sheriff, with the backing of the county commission, to put together a complete proposal that outlines how these funds would be used, why our need may be greater than others and how this will go a long way toward keeping our residents safe.

Surely some of this information was already submitted but it wouldn’t hurt to make one final push.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease and the most vocal and needy get the funding when it comes to federal dollars.

Lawless hoped to use these dollars to help ease the burden on the county’s general fund by paying for two current officers’ salaries and also to hire two additional officers, something that is needed here in Lawrence County.

The sheriff has done a good job of living within his means and providing services needed to Lawrence County. The problem is there just isn’t enough money to go around.

Hopefully, COPS can be convinced to help.