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Texas: $125M To Rural Sheriffs And Prosecutors For Pay Increases

Texas has awarded $125 million in grants to rural sheriffs and prosecutors across the state, an effort to help those law enforcement agencies attract and keep talent in their communities, reports the Texas Tribune. The legislation passed with bipartisan support, and totaled $330 million and established grants for increasing minimum salaries and additional equipment. Rural law enforcement can apply for the grant again in 2025.

The comptroller’s office, which among other duties manages the state’s budget and collects taxes, began accepting applications last year and determined the amount each county would receive by population size. Only counties with a population smaller than 300,000 were eligible for the grant. Of Texas’ 254 counties, 236 have populations slimmer than 300,000, according to a 2022 estimate from the Texas Demographic Center. The comptroller awarded grants to 224 sheriff offices and 138 prosecutors offices. The grants ranged from $250,000 to $500,000 for sheriff’s offices. Prosecutors could apply for anywhere between $100,000 and $275,000. Less than 1% of lawyers practiced criminal defense law in rural parts of Texas, hampering the ability of rural prosecutor’s offices to find and employ public defenders it could dispatch to courts. Although the grant money is a boon for law enforcement offices, recruiting has been a persisting challenge for sheriff’s offices, with young people no longer viewing it as an appealing career, according to Michael Lazcano, vice president of the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Officers Association.


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