Sheriff Napier: This might be last chance at Stonegarden funds

If the Board of Supervisors turns down a federal Operation Stonegarden grant next year, the county may never get a shot at the money again, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said Thursday in Green Valley.

“I cannot buy us any more forbearance,” Napier said at a Green Valley Council Board of Representatives meeting. “All of that money, despite what the activists think, doesn’t go away. It goes to other people and the county should really be on the front lines.”

The federal grant promotes cooperation among Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies. It also finances overtime and mileage costs and equipment for joint operations among agencies tasked with securing international borders.

In September, the county board rejected the federal grant, 3-1. District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents Green Valley and part of Sahuarita, voted in favor of accepting the funding.

The amount of Stonegarden money will only increase in the future, Napier said. Last fiscal year, the grant offered $3.2 million to the county sheriff and its regional partners, including the Sahuarita Police Department. In FY 2018 that amount jumps to $3.8 million; and for FY 2019, the projection is $5 million.

“The federal government is all but begging me to take this money,” Napier said. He said it is essential for purchasing equipment and deploying deputies to rural, underserved areas in the county that are susceptible targets for trafficking and transnational crime.

Napier applied for almost $2 million in Stonegarden money for next fiscal year. He expects to get a response from the federal government in January or February.

Read the entire Green Valley News and Sun article here. Originally published Dec. 23, 2018.

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