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A new law enforcement grant may help to curb the surge of financial and identity theft related crimes in the county.
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office announced last week it was awarded a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) for $71,647 to fund a white-collar crime investigator, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office learned the news May 25, making this the second year it has been awarded the grant.
Funding for the grant is allocated from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance for various state and local law enforcement initiatives.
“We are excited about receiving this grant again so that we can provide this specialized investigator to the citizens of the county,” said Sheriff Barry Faile.
“Our grants officer works extremely hard at securing grant money so we can increase our level of service at little to no cost to the taxpayers.”
Faile said the advent of computer technology and the Internet have made these types of crimes more common, resulting in the need for a specialized officer.
“Their investigation and prosecution require special skills and knowledge. This grant provides that for us,” Faile said.
The grant pays for salary, fringe benefits, overtime, equipment, office supplies and training for the position. The investigator’s job is to investigate white-collar crimes such as identity theft, fraud, forgery and financial transaction fraud.
“There’s so much paperwork with these crimes and it takes so much time to investigate.
“If we didn’t have this grant, it would almost be impossible to take the time needed to spend on these cases,” Faile said.
With financial-based crimes, it can sometimes take up to one year or longer to obtain all the necessary documents to form a case, Faile said.
He also mentioned the need in these cases for various experts, such as handwriting analysts, that can slow down the process.
“You could work one of these cases and have three or four boxes of papers to work through,” he said. “That’s why we have one of these investigators.”
There has been news on several other grants as well, including:
• Lancaster County recently received $18,291 from a separate federal JAG, which Faile proposed using to buy air cards for laptop computers and mobile data terminals for sheriff’s patrol cars.
Faile said the terminals will allow deputies to run license numbers from inside their cars, while the air cards will allow them to finish their reports in the field.
“This way, it will keep them out of the office and in their areas,” Faile said.
Lancaster County Council approved the proposal at its May 14 meeting, and Faile said the funding could be allocated sometime this summer.
• Council learned that Local Emergency Management Performance grant funding from the state has been set aside for Lancaster County, though the grant has not yet been awarded.
The estimated award is $54,968.