The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office’s 24 sworn officers protect a population of 33,000 located about 90 minutes southeast of Chicago.

The Challenge

Like law enforcement agencies across the country, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) serves an expanding community on a tight budget. New solar and wind turbine facilities as well as population influx is creating new enforcement and protection responsibilities. “We are a very progressive department,” says JCSO Sheriff Patrick Williamson. “But we found it challenging to answer all the calls with our current staffing.”

Investment in technology has helped the agency maximize resources, but even that comes with challenges. The department’s body-worn camera (BWC) program, for instance, was under increasing strain. “We were working with a hodgepodge of different types of cameras, cameras that were 8 years old,” Sheriff Williamson says. “We had issues with batteries running dead, cameras failing, audio recordings failing.”

Two grant programs provided a glimmer of hope that the JCSO could obtain new equipment and officers. But first, a greater challenge loomed: Due to turnover at the county auditor’s office, no one could access the county’s profile on the federal site, leaving the county unable to seek any federal grants.

The Solution

Recognizing he needed help, Sheriff Williamson reached out to Lexipol’s Grant Services division. Lexipol Grant Services Manager Tabitha Vande Voort’s first priority was to help the county regain access to their account. “That was a pretty large hurdle,” she says.“Positions had changed, and no one had the correct password.” Working closely with the auditor’s office, she was able to restore access.

Next up: addressing the agency’s staffing situation. The obvious grant was the COPS Hiring Program. The agency had attempted to apply in 2022 but wound up missing the deadline. Sheriff Williamson knew he needed to start earlier this year, and it paid off. “By calling Lexipol early in the grant cycle, we got a 50% discount,” he says. “I was encouraged by Lexipol’s success in obtaining the COPS grant. They’re a professional team that’s done this before.”

While Vande Voort was working with the agency on the COPS application, another grant opportunity popped up. “One of my commissioners made me aware of a grant program for BWCs, but it was closing in two weeks,” Sheriff Williamson says. “I immediately called Lexipol.” Vande Voort tapped into Lexipol’s Grant Assistance Platform, which connects agencies with free grant assistance sponsored by public safety vendors, in this case Axon. “All I did was provide a little information and sit back and our application was submitted in less than a week,” Sheriff Williamson says.

JCSO also subscribes to Lexipol’s policies and updates solution, which proved helpful in the grants process. “Grant reviewers want to know that the agency has a plan for integrating new equipment and personnel,” Vande Voort says. Sheriff Williamson agrees: “Having Lexipol policies in place made that portion of the grant really easy.”

The Results

Although the COPS Hiring Program awards have not been announced yet, JCSO is already seeing benefits from working with Lexipol’s Grant Services team. Through the state grant, the agency was awarded $14,620 to purchase Axon BWCs.

“Between the money we spent for grant assistance and the grant we received, we saved $10,000,” Sheriff Williamson says. “We’re actually in the black – and we have brand-new cameras for everyone in the department.” The BWCs help promote the department’s transparency and accountability goals. Most importantly, they are reliable. “Knowing they’re going to work every day is a huge comfort and helps us operate more efficiently,” Sheriff Williamson says.

With Lexipol’s Grant Services team on his side, Sheriff Williamson knows grant funding will be a key part of his budget strategy. “If you want to expand your department and be innovative, you have to make time to apply, but seeking grants is difficult, especially at the federal level,” he says. “Lexipol was great to work with and made the whole process easy. It’s so much better to have a team that knows what they’re doing.”

"Lexipol was great to work with and made the whole process easy."

- Sheriff Patrick Williamson

Jasper County (IN) Sheriff’s Office
"All I did was provide a little information and sit back and our application was submitted in less than a week."

- Sheriff Patrick Williamson

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