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Reinforcements: Sheriff’s Office using grant to bolster coverage

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office has received a 2020 Chevrolet 2500, and grant funding for personnel, to enhance border security along the county’s border with Canadian waters.

EAGLE RIVER — The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office has received a 2020 Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck from the Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) through the Department of Homeland Security. To be eligible for OPSG, said Sheriff Curt Pennala, entities must be state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies that are located along the United States border.

“With Keweenaw County being a border county,” said Pennala, “the funding was made available to us, and we are now deploying extra personnel and equipment in the county at no additional cost to our residents.”

Pennala said the community has noticed more patrols on the roads. Most of these are deputies who are fully funded by the grant.

Operation Stonegarden is a federal grant program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is a component of the DHS, as part of the State Homeland Security Grant Program. Operation Stonegarden provides eligible law enforcement agencies with funding to enhance their capabilities to support joint efforts to secure the borders of the United States. Funds are to be used for additional law enforcement personnel, overtime pay, general purpose equipment, and travel and lodging for the deployment of state and local personnel – among other applicable activities – to improve overall border security.

The OPSG Program supports enhanced cooperation and coordination among Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol, and eligible law enforcement agencies. The program funds investments in joint efforts to secure the U.S. borders along routes of ingress from international borders to include travel corridors in states bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as states and territories with international water borders.

“We have a great relationship with the U.S. Border Patrol,” Pennala said, “and this increases our coordination with them.”

Pennala said with the grant, the Sheriff’s Office can address transitional public safety issues that they may not otherwise have the funding or the equipment to do so.

“This is a great resource for Sheriffs all across our nation,” said Pennala.

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