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Stafford County could get more Sheriff's deputies via federal grant.
Stafford County Sheriff^BENT^0027^EENT^s Deputy D. M. Stout checks a driver's record on a computer in a squad car in 2004.
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BY JONAS BEALS
The Stafford County Sheriff's Office could get seven new deputies, thanks to a federal grant program.
Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow Sheriff Charles Jett to apply for the grant.
If approved, the Community Oriented Policing Services grant would cover entry-level salaries and benefits for seven new deputies for three years. Stafford would be required to pick up the cost of the deputies for the fourth year.
The total value of the grant is projected to be $1.4 million. The fourth year would cost Stafford $508,000.
Supervisor Gary Snellings said the request was reasonable.
A staff study by Jett revealed the need for 14 new deputies in order to meet the International Association of Chiefs of Police standards for community policing. Those standards suggest deputies need a certain amount of time to conduct neighborhood outreach, also known as community policing.
"That need still exists," said Jett, who has been trying to meet that standard for years.
According to Jett, the goal is for deputies to spend 60 percent of their time doing "reactive" work, such as responding to calls, and 40 percent of their time doing "proactive" work, such as walking a beat.
More total deputies would give every deputy in the department more time to devote to outreach.
"We haven't been able to hire any deputies," Jett said, citing hiring freezes in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The grant request must be based on the size of the department. Stafford is eligible to apply for eight deputies, but Jett will ask for seven.
Stafford Fire and Rescue Chief Rob Brown was awarded a similar grant for 14 new firefighters earlier this year. Supervisors eventually cut his request for new firefighters from 14 to seven after considering the eventual cost of accepting the grant.
The original award was $2 million--enough to pay 14 firefighters for two years. The firefighter grant requires the locality to pay for a third year, which would have cost Stafford $1 million.
By cutting the grant request in half, supervisors slashed the county's third-year cost to $500,000.
The total projected value of the Community Oriented Policing Services grant.
Number of deputies'
Amount Stafford would be responsible for paying for the fourth year.
The number of new deputies needed in Stafford to meet International Association of Chiefs of Police standards.