SCU to receive $250,000 criminal justice grant
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

August 15, 2006 - Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County's Special Crimes Unit Monday received notification they will be receiving nearly $250,000 from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division to help fund the cooperative agency targeted primarily at dismantling criminal organizations or "criminal enterprise," Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Tuesday morning.

"This is to shut down criminal enterprises. Criminal enterprise is like with methamphetamine. It starts out with one person getting it, but there are a number of legs, a lot more are involved in the process. This money is for dismantling these types of criminal organizations," Bayuk explained.

The SCU was one of seven law enforcement agencies designated this week to receive a portion of the $3.6 million awarded by the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and distributed through the Governor's CJD to support state and local governments' activities geared toward prevention and control of crime, as well as improvement of the criminal justice system and to help provide law enforcement with technology equipment.

"This grant is much needed and we are very thankful to have it. We are especially grateful to Senator Bob Deuell. I want to personally thank Senator Deuell for his assistance in securing these funds. I called him and told him we were going to apply and asked if he could put in a good word for us to help push it through. I believe, due to his input, Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County SCU was awarded this grant. I believe he was very instrumental in us getting this grant," Bayuk said.

Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell received a notification letter from Governor's CJD Executive Director Ken C. Nicolas Monday, which he passed along to Bayuk, advising that the local SCU 's application for $248,923 grant to help the agency in its goal to "target individuals and criminal organizations that commit violent crimes within the city and county," according to Gov. Rick Perry's office.

The funds will be disbursed over an 18- month period, and will be utilized to cover the personnel and "contractual" costs, specifically the salaries and benefits for the three SCU officers — Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Ron Plaxco and Sgt. Harold McClure, and Sgt. Tony Crouse from Hopkins County Sheriff's Department, according to Bayuk. Once the 18 months are up, the department would be eligible to reapply for additional funding to continue operations as long as funding is available.

"We are excited to get this funding for a much needed unit which will be focuses almost exclusively in Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County. If by chance an investigation turns up information which takes them outside the county as well as in it, that's the only time they would work outside Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County. Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County SCU is 98 percent for our benefit in Hopkins County," Bayuk said.

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