TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - In a stunning reversal, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the Operation Stonegarden grant with a 3-2 vote Tuesday, May 7.
The board set conditions on the grant, but Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said he can meet them.
“This morning, the Pima County Board of Supervisors demonstrated leadership and a commitment to public safety by approving acceptance of the embattled Operation Stonegarden Grant,” Chief Deputy Byron Gwaltney said in a news release. “Acceptance of this grant will provide valuable funding to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to enhance law enforcement activities related to transnational crime, human trafficking, and border security. Sheriff Napier remains committed to working with community groups on both sides of the issue to enhance community engagement and provide full transparency. Sheriff Napier welcomes collaborating with the Board of Supervisors to satisfy grant acceptance conditions.”
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department had received the grant since 2004, until the Board of Supervisors rejected it in September 2018.
Those who voted against the grant from the Department of Homeland Security claimed they couldn’t justify taking money under the country’s current immigration policies.
Napier had repeatedly said it was a political move and hurt his department’s ability to keep the public safe.
Sharon Bronson voted against the grant in 2018, but changed her mind this time around. Several activists at the event screamed at Bronson following the vote.
The PCSD used the grant money to buy equipment, pay overtime and to patrol the county’s vast remote areas. The total for the 2019 grant is expected to be around $1.5 million.
In March 2019, Sheriff Mark Napier asked the Board of Supervisors to reconsider their decision from the previous year.