Supes approve Title III funding for sheriff’s office

At its Tuesday, Oct. 10 meeting, the Lassen County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing, and then unanimously approved granting $134,417.01 to the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office as reimbursement for search and rescue operations already performed on federal land and paid for by Lassen County, including law enforcement patrols, associated training costs and equipment purchases directly related to those services.

Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon explains to the Lassen County Board of Supervisors how his office will use Title III funds. Photo by Sam Williams

“Title III funding comes through from the federal government,” said Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon. “Part of the intent is to help the county offset some of the costs of dealing with emergencies on national forest land.”

According to the staff report recommending the allocation to the sheriff’s office, Congress last reauthorized payments  from Title III, also known as the Secure Rural Schools Act, for fiscal years 2021-2023, but the county does not expect to receive funding in 2024.

“Our search and rescue response has really increased over the last number of years, as people are venturing out, especially during the COVID years,” Growdon said. “We’ve had a lot of search and rescue missions, most of them in the wintertime. People get stuck in the snow in remote areas.”

Growdon said the funding could be used for communication equipment to improve response capabilities, which is a large issue in the North County.

According to the staff report, the county could allocate Title III funding to provide or expand access to broadband telecommunications services, but the county already has received a $500,000 grant from the Golden State Connect Authority for that purpose and is seeking “last mile” federal funding as well.

Title III funds have also gone to the Lassen Fire Safe Council in the past.