By GARY POPP and CHRIS MORRIS
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett was in the giving mood on Tuesday, with local law enforcement agencies being the beneficiaries.
Hogsett doled out oversized checks totaling more than $50,000 in federal grant money to the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Jeffersonville and Clarksville police departments.
The funds were drawn from the U.S. Justice Department’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant that is designed to support local law enforcement programs across the country. The grants are intended to be flexible, and can be used for new initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment and supplies, according to Hogsett.
Hogsett, federal attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, first met with Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills and Floyd County Commissioner Steve Bush and presented a check of $12,000. Hours later Hogsett met with Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore and police Chief Chris Grimm.
“We try to bring as much funding in from the federal government as we possibly can,” Mills said. “We want to bring funds back to the community to help us keep up with the bad guys.”
Hogsett handed over a check of $40,257 to Moore and Grimm, with the money to be shared among the Jeffersonville Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Clarksville Police Department. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office will receive approximately $3,000 and Clarksville police will be allotted nearly $14,000. An additional $4,000 will go toward grant administration fees.
Grimm said the nearly $18,000 his department will be allotted will go toward radios used by officers and to purchase Taser cartridges.
“It takes away some of the costs that the city doesn’t have to put forward,” Grimm said of the grant funds. “We have a lot of outdated radios that move in and out, and they are not cheap.”
Grimm said it is especially beneficial to receive the funding as less and less federal grant monies are being distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country.
“The federal grants are drying up. A lot of them are no longer available,” Grimm said. “It helps tremendously with buying equipment that, otherwise, we, potentially, couldn’t purchase. It helps keep the stuff our officers use on a daily basis up to date and in working order.”
Moore said he was impressed by having the federal attorney make the special trip to Jeffersonville.
“For Hogsett to come here — that is pretty darn significant,” he said.
While in New Albany, Hogsett also took time to honor seven law enforcement officers with U.S. Attorney’s Awards. The seven officers played key roles in the arrest and conviction of 14 individuals involved in a multistate drug and gun trafficking ring.
The officers included an undercover officer with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, a trooper from the Indiana State Police and federal officers. Names are being withheld to protect identities.
Hogsett said only 20 U.S. Attorney’s Awards were given out in the Southern District which includes 60 counties, and two-thirds of the state’s population. He said the awards are given annually to officers who “go above and beyond the call of duty.”
“This was an important collaboration effort between law enforcement officials. This operation was bringing large amounts of drugs and guns to Southern Indiana and Kentucky,” Hogsett said during the short ceremony at the Pine View Youth Center and Government Center in New Albany. “If we are not cooperating and collaborating with one another in this day of stressed resources, then we are not getting the job done.”
All 14 arrested have already accepted plea agreements and are currently serving time.
“The investigation was huge for this area,” said Thomas Gorman, assistant special agent in charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Louisville. “This was a violent organization that brought destruction to this community. Now it’s gone and that has made a significant impact to this community.”