Randolph County Commission approves grant applications

The Randolph County Commission recently approved two grant applications related to public safety.

During a special meeting Thursday, commissioners voted to approve and submit an application for a state Justice Assistance grant program. Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker explained that, if obtained, the $35,000 grant would aid in addressing “the drug and violent crime issue.”

Specifically, Parker said the money would be used to retain assistant prosecuting attorneys. At a special meeting on the county budget Tuesday, commissioners approved the county’s 2013-2014 budget, which allocates money to support a third assistant prosecuting attorney position. Currently, the county only employs two assistant prosecuting attorneys, Lori Gray and Christina Harper.

“We’ve had a decent amount of turnover in the prosecutor’s office, and that’s for a number of different reasons, but we would utilize this money for those positions,” Parker said. “They will help track offenses and recidivism rates and the impact and effect of rehabilitation programs and alternate sentencing.”

“The county already has the matching funds incorporated into its budget,” Parker added.

If awarded, the grant will go into effect July 1.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners unanimously approved a Community Corrections grant application for fiscal year 2013-2014; locally, the program provides services in Randolph, Tucker and Pocahontas counties.

About $449,676 in state grant funds are available, while the local cash match is $192,725 split among the three counties, according to information provided at the meeting.

“Community corrections is going to play a more important role in helping us keep down the regional bill,” County Commissioner Mike Taylor said. “The number of people (enrolled in Community Corrections) could increase based on the approval of a bill in the state Legislature. I hope it continues to prosper not only in Randolph but in Pocahontas and Tucker counties as well.”