Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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economy Economic Development

Rural Law Enforcement Grants Senate Bill (SB) 22

Senate Bill (SB) 22 establishes a grant program that will provide financial assistance to sheriff’s departments, constable’s offices and district and county attorney’s offices in eligible counties to ensure professional law enforcement and legal representation of the people’s interests throughout the state.

The new law provides supplemental salaries for different positions in rural areas. Eligible counties can apply for grant funds beginning Jan. 1, 2024, regardless of a particular county’s fiscal start-date. Eligible counties may apply electronically beginning Jan. 1, 2024. In future years, counties and prosecutor’s offices will apply according to the start of their fiscal year.

Eligibility

The Comptroller’s office will use the federal decennial census as the source for the population counts (2020 census data).

A qualified county or prosecutor’s office means the office meets the standards provided by the law.

  • Offices must serve counties with overall populations of 300,000 or less.
  • If a constable is already making above the minimum annual salary, the county is not eligible for grant funding to increase the salary.
  • If a county already pays the minimum salary levels for the sheriff, deputies and jailers, the county may still apply for funds for additional personnel or equipment.

Minimum salaries and other eligible expenditures are detailed in Local Government Code (LG) 130.911.

Available Funds and Qualified Expenditures

Sheriff's Offices

For sheriff’s offices, a qualified county is eligible for the following:

  • $250,000 if the county has a population of less than 10,000;
  • $350,000 if the county has a population of 10,000 or more and less than 50,000; or
  • $500,000 if the county has a population of 50,000 or more and 300,000 or less.

Salaries for sheriff's office employees must be given priority over other uses.

Counties awarded money for sheriff’s offices must use the grant funds to:

  • provide a minimum annual salary of:
    • $75,000 for a county sheriff;
    • $45,000 for each deputy who makes motor vehicle stops in the routine performance of their duties;
    • $40,000 for each jailer whose duties include the safekeeping of prisoners and the security of a jail operated by the county;
  • increase the salary of those listed above;
  • hire additional deputies or staff for the sheriff ’s office; and,
  • purchase vehicles, firearms and safety equipment for the sheriff’s office.

Before it can authorize the use of the grant money for the other allowable expenses, the county must first use the grant money to meet minimum annual salaries of the county sheriff, deputies who make motor vehicle stops in the routine performance of their duties and jailers whose duties include the safekeeping of prisoners and the security of a jail operated by the county.

Counties may use grant funds to increase salaries for those listed in Local Govt. Code Section 130.911(e)(1) above the established minimum amounts stated.

If a sheriff holds dual offices in the county, the portion of the salary attributable to the sheriff’s duties must be increased to meet the minimum salary required in Local Government Code Section 130.911(e)(1).

If a sheriff’s office employs part-time employees or pays its employees hourly rather than salary wages, the office must pay an hourly wage that would be the equivalent of the minimum annual salary as per Section 130.911(e) of the Local Government Code.

Additionally, if a county uses grant funds to increase the salary of the county sheriff, deputy sheriff, jailer or any additional staff hired under Local Government Code Sections 130.911(e)(1), (2) or (3), grant funds may be spent for the associated benefits that are incremental to the increase in salary. Benefits that are not tied to the increase in salary, such as longevity pay, cannot be paid for with grant funding.

For the purposes of this section, the definition of jailer has the same meaning as “county jailer” under Texas Occupations Code, Section 1701.001(2).

Constable's Offices

For constable’s offices, a county with a population of 300,000 or less must provide an annual salary of $45,000 to a qualified constable. The county must contribute at least 75 percent of the money required to meet the minimum annual salary. The other 25 percent will come from the grant money provided by SB 22.

Counties awarded money for constable’s offices may only use the grant funds to increase a constable’s salary to a minimum annual salary of $45,000.

If a county uses grant funds to increase the salary of a constable under Local Government Code Section 130.912(e), grant funds may be spent for the associated benefits that are incremental to the increase in salary. Benefits that are not tied to the increase in salary, such as longevity pay, cannot be paid for with grant funding.

Prosecutor's Offices

For prosecutor’s offices, the Comptroller’s office will use the sum of the population in each county in the multi-county jurisdiction. A jurisdiction with a population of 300,000 or less is eligible for the following amounts for the prosecutor’s office:

  • $100,000 if the jurisdiction has a population of less than 10,000;
  • $175,000 if the jurisdiction has a population of 10,000 or more and less than 50,000; or,
  • $275,000 if the jurisdiction has a population of 50,000 or more and 300,000 or less.

A prosecutor’s office that is awarded grant funds from SB 22 must use the grant money to:

  • increase the salary of an assistant attorney, an investigator or a victim assistance coordinator employed at the office; or,
  • hire additional staff for the office.

If a rural prosecutor’s office uses grant funds to increase the salary of an assistant attorney, investigator, a victim assistance coordinator or any additional staff hired under Local Government Code Sections 130.913(e)(1) or (2), grant funds may be spent for the associated benefits that are incremental to the increase in salary. Benefits that are not tied to the increase in salary, such as longevity pay, cannot be paid for with grant funding.

Application Deadlines

For initial implementation of the program, all eligible counties will be eligible to apply for grant funds beginning Jan. 1, 2024, regardless of a particular county’s fiscal start date. The fiscal 2024 deadline for all qualified counties and prosecutor’s office, if their fiscal year starts before Jan. 1, 2024, is 30 days after the application is available on Jan. 1, 2024.

If a county has encumbered funds for fiscal 2024 salaries before Jan. 1, 2024, the county will be able to backfill its budgeted funds over the months leading up to application using the grant funds. It will be up to the county whether to adjust law enforcement salaries at the start of its fiscal year or to wait until grant funds are awarded to the county to adjust salaries.

After the first year of the program, a qualified county or prosecutor’s office must apply for the grant not more than 30 days after the first day of its fiscal year.

By law, failure to meet this deadline means qualified county or prosecutor’s office will have to wait until its next fiscal year to apply.

If you did not receive an email with a link to the application, please contact the Local Government team.

Contact us with questions about the SB22 program.


Need Help?

For additional information, contact the Data Analysis and Transparency Division via email or at 844-519-5672.

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