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Department of Justice allocates funds to state, local governments to battle COVID-19
From left corner clockwise, Gainesville school resource officer Danny Adames, Sgt. Kevin Holbrook and Officer Natalia Ramirez are seen wearing facemasks. The Department of Justice has made available more than $23 million for Georgia and local governements, but Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said local donations have helped.

More than $23 million from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has been allocated to the state of Georgia, local governments and their public safety agencies to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The BJA released the fiscal year 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program formula grant solicitation March 30.

The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council received an award of $15,840,333.

According to a news release from the Department of Justice, the funds may be used “to hire personnel, pay overtime costs, cover protective equipment and supplies, address correctional inmates’ medical needs and defray expenses related to the distribution of resources to hard-hit areas, among other activities.”

“We also understand that many of our state and local partners are interested in the grant funding that has been awarded to CJCC. We are currently working with leaders in the field to prioritize and determine the greatest use of funds to serve the needs of the entire state,” said Britney Campbell-Hough, a spokeswoman for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. 

Beyond the nearly $16 million given to the council, there was nearly $8 million allocated to local governments by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The allocations for Hall County and the city of Gainesville were $62,400 and $43,690, respectively.

Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said the department has researched the available grant money.

“At this point we have not had significant cost that would rise to the need of applying for these funds. I am delighted to say that our community has stepped up to the call and provided our agency with the many items that are needed to fight this pandemic. This is our local businesses, non-profits, and families. Because of these donations, we are not in need of the funds at this time,” Parrish wrote in an email.

Parrish said the department will continue monitoring the cost of protecting “ourselves and our stakeholders.”

“Should the cost increase to a point that these funds are needed, we will certainly look to apply for the grant in order to lessen the burden on local funds,” Parrish said.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said the finance director and the support services captain have been working with the Hall County grants manager for several weeks.