By Hayley Kappes

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – Major Bell County law enforcement agencies will receive a financial boost from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant.

Sheriff Dan Smith said his department has received the grant since 2005, but the amount significantly increased from last year due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's contribution.

The Commissioners Court approved an interlocal agreement Monday between the county and cities of Belton, Harker Heights, Killeen and Temple regarding the JAG program award.

Bell County received $554,000 from the grant to split among five law enforcement entities. This year marked the first time Belton and Harker Heights will receive money through the grant.

Money is distributed to each city and county based on their violent crime rate.

Killeen will receive the highest amount in the county, $352,570. Temple will receive $92,568 and Harker Heights will receive $23,221.

Smith said he and police chiefs from each city met and agreed on how the money would be distributed. There is a specific number of program categories each agency must subsidize through the grant.

"The sheriff's department wants to use the money to upgrade computers in every patrol car," Smith said. "I think (the grant) will cover this for every car."

Smith said the department wants to use AirCards, a device that allows users to connect to wide area Internet access through a computer's USB port.

Bell County Sheriff's Department received just under $66,000.

Chief Dennis Baldwin of the Killeen Police Department did not return phone calls regarding how his organization will use the grant money.

Contact Hayley Kappes at or (254) 501-7559.

Bell County Commissioners Court actions:

The outdoor burn ban was not reinstated.

A memorandum of understanding among participants in the Bell County Health and Human Services Community Alliance was approved. The court also approved the alliance for a statement of work for community needs assessment through the Texas Health Institute's contract for services.

A report on 2008's unreimbursed health care expenditures will be sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services showing an increase of $646,046.15 from 2007.

A resolution was approved asking Sen. Troy Fraser, State Rep. Ralph Sheffield and State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock to co-author and support an amendment prohibiting unfunded state mandates on counties.

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