Sheriff offices statewide to benefit from state-funded grant program

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Governor Kay Ivey announced Monday Sheriff offices statewide will begin receiving grant money to help them offset revenue losses after the elimination of concealed firearms permit requirements enacted on Jan. 3.

The new permitless carry law allows Alabama residents to carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit, but residents must still pass a background check. Permits are still available to purchase at sheriff’s offices, allowing residents to conceal carry in states that recognize Alabama’s concealed carry permit.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West said the department has experienced declining revenue from pistol permits and grant funding will help offset those losses.

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“We’re excited about it,” West said. “We hope that it makes up for what we lose in pistol permits. Revenue has fallen tremendously. When I first took office it was around $80,000. Now it is somewhere around $8,000.”

Each sheriff’s department will receive funds beginning in the first quarter of 2023 based on monies that the departments collected on pistol permit fees in 2022.

“We appreciate the grants and Governor Ivey continuing to back the blue,” said Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond. “We will file a report every quarter for losses and they will reimburse us. We can use this money in the same way we used the pistol permit money — for ammunition, equipment, and vehicle repairs.”

Ivey said her administration focused on supporting law enforcement. The grant program represents one way the administration has worked to show tangible support to local departments.

“A couple of core tenets of the Ivey Administration is that we back the blue in the strongest way possible and that we support upholding our citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” Ivey said. “As we have amended Alabama law to help our gun owners, we also worked to ensure our sheriffs received their critical funds, and I am proud that these grants will do that. The Sheriffs’ Grants will provide them with funding for training, equipment and other needs not provided by county commissions in their annual appropriations. We are proud to support the vital work our sheriffs’ departments do on a daily basis.”

According to Crenshaw County Sheriff Terry Mears, the Crenshaw County Commission will apply for grant funding and distribute collected monies back to the sheriff’s office.

“We used to sell pistol permits, and the County Commission received a portion,” Mears said. “Now they will apply for the grant and give us money out of the funding.”

The grant program, known as the Local Government Pistol Permit Revenue Loss Fund, requires sheriffs to show a loss of pistol permit funds in 2023 compared to 2022 figures.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) will disburse funds to the sheriff’s offices based on reports collected by other agencies.

“ADECA intends to carry out our duties in this matter to ensure that Alabama’s sheriffs’ offices are compensated for their losses based on those shortages provided in the data,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.

Ivey’s press release noted the grant is one of many programs administered by ADECA to support law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resources management, and recreation development.