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Cuts may jeopardize police grant
The reach of federal sequestration could extend to the Glynn County Police Department if funding provided to the state for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety's HEAT grant is cut.

The Glynn County Commission plans to approve an application by the police department at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. today at the old courthouse, 701 G St., to continue receiving the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic grant, which amounts to more than $85,000 annually.

The grant helps cover the costs of three specialized officers who, among other things, patrol county roads for aggressive and impaired driving.

But the federal grant money the state uses to fund the program in 29 jurisdictions could be in jeopardy, according to Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering.

"There is the potential sequestration could effect it," Doering said.

Sequestration is the automatic, across-the-board budget cutting process that went into effect this month after Congress was unable to reach an agreement on how to reduce spending and tackle the growing federal deficit.

If funding is affected, Doering said a diminished program would hamper what has been a productive group of officers who have made a big difference in the department's operations.

In addition to patrol duties, the three Glynn County HEAT officers - Bobby Black, Shane Nolen and Charles Sweet - work VIP details, funeral processions, crime and accident scene mapping, Doering said.

They have contributed to investigations such as the death of Glynn County Commissioner Tom Sublett in December, he said.

"If we get the grant again, great. If not, then we will have to find the money for it somewhere else," Doering said.

Because money for the program is given at the beginning of the federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, three months after the county and state fiscal years begin, the county is reimbursed for expenses, Doering said. That means money for the program must be covered in the county's budget when it is finalized in June.

Glynn County Commission Chairwoman Mary Hunt said the commission will have to consider the program's cost if the grant money becomes unavailable.

"It is something we would have to look at sooner rather than later," Hunt said. "I am really hoping our (federal) government doesn't do that."

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320.



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