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Jeff Dezort/Staff

Boone County Law Enforcement Committee chairman Bryan Snavely (left) presents BCSO Chief Deputy Roy Martin with a plaque for his service as justice of the peace. Martin resigned from the quorum court earlier this year to take the chief deputy position after Sheriff Tim Roberson was appointed to fulfill former Sherif Mike More’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2022.

The Boone County Quorum Court followed a Budget and Finance Committee recommendation Tuesday night and approved an appropriation for funds to match grant money that will be used to equip sheriff’s department patrol cars with computers.

During the last Law Enforcement Committee meeting, Sheriff Tim Roberson told justices of the peace that many law enforcement agencies in the area have computers in patrol units.

Those computers allow officers to write reports in their vehicles and run license plate numbers through the Arkansas Crime Information Center. Writing reports is now done at the sheriff’s office and they have to radio into dispatchers to run tags.

Roberson said the department had located a grant that would cover 90% of the $106,000 it would require to outfit 20 patrol units with those computers.

The county would have to contribute more than $10,600 to match the grant amount.

Roberson said he had been told that the grant had already been approved. He was told to get quotes together for equipment, although he shouldn’t buy anything until the match is approved.

The funds would come from the Jail Sales Tax Fund.

The quorum court also agreed with another Budget and Finance Committee recommendation and appropriated $44,800 to Boone County Juvenile Services to pay for housing a juvenile male subject charged with murder, but as a juvenile.

Eric Christian, chief juvenile officer with Juvenile Services, met with the committee earlier and said even though they had appropriated money for a juvenile murder suspect charged as an adult, which isn’t covered by Juvenile Services, that suspect’s brother and another juvenile male are both charged with murder as juveniles.

Christian said the situation is that they are still juveniles and the prosecuting attorney has filed a petition under extended juvenile jurisdiction, they have to be evaluated at the state hospital to determine competency to stand trial.

He said the cases are moving in the right direction, but depending on what the evaluations determine and what the juveniles’ attorneys do, there still might not be a trial until December.

Christian said the cost for housing the two juveniles since early in the year has been about $22,000, which is more than Juvenile Services spent on 25 other juveniles who have been detained during that same period.

He said the department tries to avoid detention if at all possible, but this is a special circumstance.

JP David Thompson said the county didn’t have a choice but to fund Christian’s request, but he felt it would be better to take the money from reserves rather than the general fund. The ordinance was written with using reserves, but Thompson returned Tuesday with a request to amend the ordinance to state the money would come from the general fund.

Thompson explained that the reversal was the only change needed in the ordinance. It was adopted unanimously.

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