KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey of the Eastern District of Tennessee today announced that the Blount County Sheriff’s Office received $79,292 in Department of Justice grants to respond to the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The grant is available under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump. Other jurisdictions can determine if they are eligible for funds and may apply immediately by visiting this website. The Justice Department is oving quickly, awarding grants on a rolling basis and aiming to have funds available for drawdown as soon as possible after receiving applications.
“This is no time for anyone to let up in the fight against COVID-19, and law enforcement cannot let down its guard against the dangers it presents. I’m very pleased to announce this grant award to the BCSO for its use in properly equipping and protecting its deputies as they continue to protect the citizens of Blount County,” said U.S. Attorney Overbey.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the public health emergency it created are sobering reminders that even the most routine duties performed by our nation’s public safety officials carry potentially grave risks,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These funds will provide hard-hit communities with critical resources to help mitigate the impact of this crisis and give added protection to the brave professionals charged with keeping citizens safe.”
The law gives jurisdictions considerable latitude using these funds for dealing with COVID-19. Potential uses include hiring personnel, paying overtime, purchasing protective equipment, distributing resources to hard-hit areas and addressing inmates’ medical needs.
Agencies eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for the emergency funding. Local units of government and tribes will receive direct awards separately according to their jurisdictions’ allocations.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.