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Law Enforcement Salaries Reimbursable With COVID Relief Dollars

South Dakota Capitol

City and county agencies around the state can apply for reimbursement for pandemic-related costs from a Local Government COVID Relief Fund.

That’s a $200 million fund from federal stimulus funding.

One reimbursable cost is law enforcement salaries.

The state got $1.25 billion in federal money. It needs to spend that by the end of 2020.

State officials say, under U.S. Treasury Department guidelines, a city or county may presume police and sheriff’s department employees are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to COVID-19.

That guidance came out in late May and covers personnel expenses from March 1 through December 30.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom says law enforcement personnel—along with healthcare workers—are on the front line of the COVID crisis.

“We look forward to working with the governor’s office over the next few months as we try to recover those costs for the county,” Thom says. “It’ll be helpful for the county’s budget as a whole, which makes it easier for the community, so that burden isn’t passed onto the taxpayer.”

Thom says his office has dealt with COVID 19 in the jail, but also the addiction treatment CARE Campus. He says the sheriff’s office spent a lot of money on PPE and keeping the jail clean.

Rapid City will receive $17.5 million in local government relief. Pennington County will receive $7.5 million.