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Possible changes for Sheriff's Office after losing grant funding
Sheriff Office deputies and detectives face demotion after a loss of federal dollars.
The loss of a federal grant means tough choices for the county and the Sheriffs office.
Detectives to deputies and deputies back to the detention facility those are just some of the changes the Sheriff's Office might have to make to keep its current staff after a federal grant all but dries up.
Sheriff Richard Wiles said for the past 20 years a federal grant funded the Border Crime Initiative, which is essentially, the county's narcotics unit.
The money is funneled from the feds to the state and the state to the county but after two decades the governments has cut the funds.
Last year the county received $1.5 million from the grant to fund the unit. This year they're receiving just
That means a lot of positions are on the chopping block to prevent cuts the Sheriff's Office is looking into shifting staff, including demotions.
Due to the success of the task force over the past several years, Wiles hopes the county will consider helping fund the unit.
"They keep drugs out of the hands of our kids they keep drugs off the street of El Paso," said Wiles.
But in a tight budget year, commissioners said its difficult to figure out where that money would come from.
"These are the tough decisions we have to make. What positions such as these that when a grant ends do we retain and do we assume the financial responsibility for?" said Commissioner Vince Perez.
To keep the program viable, the county will likely need to partially fund the program. The county's budget talks continue to be ongoing, but the county needs to adopt a budget by the end of the month.