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Published October 24 2011

Cass County adds two deputies with federal grant

FARGO – Two additional deputies will join the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, thanks to a competitive federal grant that will fund the positions in full for the next three years.

The $396,000 award from the U.S. Department of Justice will help the county put more boots on the ground to enhance patrol services throughout the county, Sheriff Paul Laney told Cass County commissioners Monday.

“We’re very excited about this,” he said. “A lot of the credit goes to the county and everything we’ve done in the last several years. A lot of departments were denied (this grant), but we weren’t.”

The DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program awarded about $240 million to 238 law enforcement agencies nationwide this year.

Although 11 agencies in North Dakota applied, only four were selected for funding, including Cass County and the West Fargo Police Department, which was awarded $408,000 to pay for two officers there.

During the county’s budgeting process this summer, Laney asked to hire four more deputies, but a pinch in funds wouldn’t accommodate the request. The COPS program aims to aid law enforcement agencies in such a situation, he said.

The federal grant fully funds the two full-time positions without any local match required, Laney said.

The only contingents are Cass County is required to pay for the positions for at least an extra year on its own once the three-year grant expires and cover a one-time $90,000 cost to pay for equipment and supplies for the two deputies, Laney said.

According to its website, the Sheriff’s Department employs two sergeants and 12 deputies in its patrol division to cover the 1,700 square miles in Cass County.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541