Sequestration Will Impact Local Law Enforcement - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sequestration Will Impact Local Law Enforcement

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With the Sequestration cuts now taking effect, Iowa stands to lose $135,000 Justice Assistance Grants, which fund everything from crime prevention to prosecution efforts.

Illinois is looking at a much bigger loss - $587,000 from those same grants.

That said, as with all of the cuts brought about by Sequestration, cuts to law enforcement funding - especially on the local level - won't be felt for a while.

"I think it's pretty early right now with it being the first day to know the direct impact, but with that being said, I'm confident that there will be an impact," Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd said.

Sheriff Boyd said that impact is unlikely to extend to things like pulling patrols off the streets, but operations that involve federal funding - especially from the Justice Assistance Grants - are at risk.

That includes operations like the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement group, a cooperative of local law enforcement agencies from both sides of the river that often works with the FBI and DEA.

It is the primary drug enforcement agency in our area.

"The funding for that has gradually decreased. Now we're talking about it potentially going away," Sheriff Boyd, who is on the Quad City MEG Board, said.

The Justice Assistance grant money also helps pay for things like court house security and keeping resource officers in our schools.

At a time when school districts are already having to make difficult budget choices, this may put them in a difficult position.

"If we to make resource allocation decisions and prioritize things, we'll have to consider every program, every operation and try to take a look at our student achievement goals and try to make the best decisions we can," said Dr. Dave Moyer, Superintendent for the Moline School District.

The Moline School District is facing a $3.8 million deficit in its education fund heading into next year. It is already trying to trim $2 million in spending this year alone.

Dr. Moyer says it is unclear what the cuts to law enforcement grants will actually mean for the district, which has a cost-sharing arrangement with the local police department.

"At this point, we're certainly worrying about putting our own budget together and we have a lot of difficult personnel and budget decisions to make, so anything that further complicates that is not necessarily welcome news," Dr. Moyer said.

Sheriff Boyd said federal lawmakers need to get to work on a compromise and come up with a solution:

"I certainly can appreciate that even on the local level it's kind of hard to get things done, but when you're working for the better good and put aside differences, typically you can get there," he said.

It is vital that they get there soon, before the real pain of these cuts is felt on the local level.

Sheriff Boyd says, among other things, the cuts from Sequestration may also be felt in the form of less revenue from housing inmates for federal agencies.

And if furloughs force the federal courthouse to close down one day a week, that could have a big impact on the Sheriff's Department operations as well.

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