Sheriff Tim Ryals updated the Conway Kiwanis Club on Wednesday on how the COPS grant approval will benefit both the sheriff’s office and the community the deputies serve.
The Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice for a grant through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, giving administrators the funding to hire six new deputies. However, because the grant does not cover the deputies’ full salaries, the sheriff’s office needed the quorum court’s approval to move forward with the hiring process.
The Faulkner County Quorum Court approved the request and allocated funding to match the 75/25 grant last week.
The U.S. Department of Justice will provide $741,267 of the funds needed to hire six deputies for a three-year period. The county must cover the remaining $247,089 for that period. The county is also responsible to keep the deputies on staff for at least one year following the initial three-year period.
Justices of the Peace allocated $349,542 on July 21 to comply with this portion of the grant requirements.
“This is huge news for Faulkner County,” Ryals said. “Our county has absolutely outgrown the sheriff’s office.”
Many deputies are overworked, and this will help alleviate the pressure they feel and calls the must individually respond to.
“We have deputies that lose vacation and holidays and cannot take sick days because we don’t have enough guys … they will be on the street working because they know what goes on out in the county. They won’t even stay home when they’re sick,” the sheriff said. “These six new positions are a huge asset not only to the citizens, but also to the sheriff’s office.”
As of Wednesday morning, the sheriff’s office had received two applications.
The sheriff said he hopes to soon receive more applications from Faulkner County residents, preferably applicants who are already certified officers.
In years past, the COPS program brought well-qualified deputies to the sheriff’s office, Ryals said.
FCSO Chief Deputy Matt Rice and Maj. John Randall were hired on in the early 90s thanks to the last COPS grant the sheriff’s office received.
The sheriff said he was thankful the Faulkner County Quorum Court approved the funding to match the grant to allow the sheriff’s office to make six much-needed hires.
To apply for one of the positions created by the COPS grant, pick up an application at the Department of Workforce Services at 1500 N. Museum Rd. in Conway. There is also an online application available at www.faulkner county.org.