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Sheriff’s office applies for COPS grant for new drug agent

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

BOLIVIA—County commissioners last week approved a grant application for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to apply for a COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Miller said the COPS grant is a federally funded, three-year grant they would use to fund an additional drug agent in the sheriff’s office’s overburdened drug enforcement unit.

The three-year grant requires the county to take over the funding of the drug agent in the fourth year, Miller said, adding if the county didn’t have the money to fund the position, the sheriff’s office would draw from its drug seizure coffers to continue to fund the drug agent position.

“We applied for a DARE officer last year and didn’t get it,” Miller said about the COPS program. “This year, the sheriff decided he wanted to apply for a drug officer position,” he said.

Currently, the sheriff’s office has seven drug enforcement agents in the unit.

Miller said they chose to apply for the drug enforcement agent position because, “as committed as we are to fighting the drug problem, which I think our drug unit has done exceptionally well in, like any other division, they are understaffed.”

“They need more people in there,” Miller said.

While Miller said the drug enforcement unit could use five or six more drug agents, they did not ask for any new positions in the county’s 2010-2011 fiscal year budget because of budget restraints facing all county departments.

“We didn’t ask for any new positions in the budget. We really, really tried to be a team player,” Miller said.  “Don’t think we’re not very fortunate. We are very fortunate. But we work hard with what we’ve got, too.”