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Law enforcement grants could boost crime fighting

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 18, 2001
Law enforcement agencies in Meridian, Lauderdale County and Clarke County could receive about $386,000 in federal grants to help fight crime and illegal drugs.
The total would include $67,354 for the Meridian Police Department and $57,042 for the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office in federal block grants they can use for law enforcement needs.
The total also would include $261,660 in federal grant money for the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, which includes representatives from the Meridian Police Department, the Lauderdale Sheriff's Office and the Clarke County Sheriff's Office.
Meridian, Lauderdale County and Clarke County also would contribute an extra $29,073 each in matching money to the drug task force. The drug task force money would pay salaries of county employees on the task force, as well as operating expenses.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said the task force is applying for the grant with the state Department of Public Safety. County supervisors gave their approval on Monday night.
Sollie said he expects to know the status of the grant in late August or early September. He said the task force could receive less money than requested.
Lauderdale County supervisors also approved a request for the federal block grant Monday; the Meridian City Council gave its approval Tuesday night. The block grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
While Sollie said the sheriff's department qualifies for $20,774 and the Meridian Police Department qualifies for $103,622 , both will actually receive a different amount.
As in the past, the sheriff's department will receive part of Meridian's grant money to help fight city crime that could move into the county.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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