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Kitsap sheriff's office snubbed by feds, receives no federal funding

The announcement was "an unpleasant surprise," according to Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer, and now the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office is left scratching its head and scrambling for other funding sources.

KCSO learned this week it did not receive federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but local city police departments and tribal law enforcement agencies, including Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and Shelton, did receive federal grant money.

KCSO was ranked "relatively high" in the final standings, but KCSO wasn't the only state sheriff's agency to get snubbed. No Washington sheriff's agency received grant money, according to KCSO.

"The decision makers in this endeavor, in my opinion, appear to be clueless," Boyer stated in a news release. "Not a single Washington state sheriff received so much as a dime out of this process when county governments are recognized as being in worse financial shape."

Tuesday's announcement by the White House and Department of Justice stated that $1 billion in grant monies are to be made available to fund hiring/re-hiring of more than 4,500 law enforcement officers. More than 1,000 law enforcement agencies were selected, including representatives of all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, according to KCSO.

"I have to seriously question the selection criteria," Boyer stated. "This was vetted as a competitive process based on community and agency needs, coupled with performance."

KCSO is the second-lowest staffed sheriff's agency in the state at .71 of one officer per 1,000 residents in the county, according to KCSO. The accepted standard in law enforcement is two officers per 1,000 residents.

"We are acutely aware of the current financial crisis and have worked diligently over the past two years cutting and trimming our budget, to meet fiscal restraints, to the point that we are shortly going to be in the running as the lowest staffed sheriff's agency ... anywhere," Boyer stated. "County residents need to know that the level of service that they expect, in which we have taken pride in providing, will be severely curtailed."

Boyer plans to contact all state sheriff's agencies to seek out alternative funding sources. He also plans to bring up the issue with Washington's elected representatives and Kitsap County commissioners.

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