AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Potter County Sheriff’s Office and Amarillo Police Department are set to receive about $64,000 each in grant funding from the Department of Justice.
Those grant funds are awarded by the DOJ through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program.
Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said the funds provide new equipment for law enforcement and can also be used to train deputies and officers. He said they receive the grant yearly, alongside APD.
“This year, we’ve put in for 11 AR-15 rifles with the scopes and optics and everything, just because the ones we have are getting old and they need to be replaced. We also put in for 20 first responder protective masks, which are gas masks. So we’d have those out in the field in case they ever need those,” said Thomas. “We also put in for to our in-car computer systems. So that’s what we have that they can track everything and do the reports.”
He said they are also getting five body cameras from last year’s grant funds.
“So, we can go back and we can readjust and say, ‘Hey, we want to use this for this instead.’ But it’s a great help for us,” Thomas continued. “When we go for budget, we’re trying to get the stuff that we have to have. These are things that we have, but this is just going to—this is like the icing on the cake or getting something that’s a little better but it didn’t cost the taxpayers anything directly.”
Every year, Sheriff Thomas said they receive a different amount. He said the first year, they were given about $650,000, which they used to buy the software they still use.
“It’s gone downhill every year since then, but every little bit counts and we try to make the most out of what we can get with that money,” Thomas added. “That’s going to benefit our guys to keep them safer, but also help our citizens.”
MyHighPlains.com also reached out to APD for details about how they would use their $64,000 but has not heard back.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the Byrne JAG funds are the primary source of criminal justice funding for state and local governments.
In a release, he also said, “This funding will empower law enforcement to target public safety needs specific to their communities, address criminal threats, and reduce crime rates in cities like Amarillo.”