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Sheriff’s Office receives grant to help victimized children

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Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that the state of Missouri has approved more than $1.8 million in grant assistance to 19 agencies across the state to investigate and prosecute crimes that victimized children.

“Criminals who victimize children must be investigated, prosecuted, and brought to justice, no matter when they commit these heinous crimes,” Gov. Parson said. “The rise in crimes reported against children during the COVID-19 pandemic and the strains on agencies that detect, investigate, and prosecute those criminals made it clear that local agencies could use additional assistance. We are pleased to make these funds available to help protect our children and remove criminals from the streets.” 

Locally, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office was one of just 19 offices to receive a grant among other applicants from across the state receiving a portion of the $1.8 million awarded. The grant is for $76,489.92.

Wright County Sheriff Sonny Byerley said the money will be used for training, equipment and supplies/operations.

The list includes designed training for child advocacy, child sexual abuse online, FLETC training and CSI training. As for equipment, the grant will allow the office to purchase forensic kit(s), crime scene camera kit(s), provide an interview room audio/video surveillance system, latent print kit(s), body cameras, voice recorders, Pansasonic Toughbook and possibly a laser printer.

More items the grant could fund include MULES encrypted lines, brochures, cards and furnishing for the vicim advocate office.

A full-time investigator would now have the necessary tools to help the office in addressing many areas related to kids crime. Sheriff Byerley, who is known for his advocacy and work for kids in the community, said he’s grateful the Sheriff’s Office received the needed grant.

Locally, the Houston Police Department also received a grant for $11,204.

On July 20, Gov. Mike Parson announced Missouri state government was making available a total of up to $2 million in additional funding opportunities to better detect, investigate, and prosecute crimes committed against children during the pandemic.

Across the nation, agencies that assist and support children had reported vulnerable children were at greater risk of being victimized during the pandemic, when more people were isolated and there were fewer opportunities for potential crimes to be reported and investigated.

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