SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA - The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has been awarded $21,382,750 from the U. S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Sheriff John McGinness said the award represents the highest amount given to any jurisdiction in the country.
"It is extraordinary good news," McGinness said. "It puts us in a position to resume what we believe is the most effective way to keep the community safe and that is to have pro-active community-based policing."
The grant will allow the sheriff's department to hire back 50 deputies. Last year, 122 were laid off due to budget cuts.
"But given that many of those positions have been re-instated or found employment elsewhere, the actual net could be closer than it might look at first blush, " McGinness said.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said the funds will pay for field service (deputy) positions for three years and come with the requirement that the positions be maintained by the county for one year after that.
Lori and Mark Gomes worked as Sacramento County sheriff's deputies for the courts. They were laid off last August.
"We're getting really low in our bank account because of the one year we were laid off," said Lori Gomes.
She and her husband are expected to be among the first to be re-instated.
"I'm excited. We're going to have money to keep our house." said Lori.
Her husband Mark said, "It's nice not to have to work seven days a week to make up for lost money."
The couple has been working part time for the past year trying to make ends meet. Being re-instated to full-time is a big deal for them and their personal finances. But the Gomes say, re-hiring 50 deputies is a big boost for the department and for the safety of the community.