By Linda Kor–
The Navajo County Drug Court will once again be expanded to Holbrook and Winslow, thanks to a grant received from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. The Navajo County Board of Supervisors authorized acceptance of the $200,000 grant on Sept. 27 that will allow some individuals arrested on drug related charges a chance for a better life. The grant requires a 25 percent match that will be provided by probation fees received by the county for a total funding amount of $266,667.
According to Adult Probation Chief Margie Brakefield, the funds will be used to pay for a surveillance officer and a part-time drug court coordinator. In addition, the funds will pay for urine analysis tests, counseling and a research consultant to monitor the program.
“The money will also help pay for gas and child care costs for people in the program to help remove any obstacles that might keep them from attending the program,” stated Brakefield.
Individuals are generally referred to the program as an option for sentencing by the county attorney’s office or their defense attorney. Ultimately, the sentencing judge will make the decision on whether to sentence someone to the program, which can last from a year to a year and a half.
The program, which began in 2006, serves an average of 50 people a year, with 10 to 15 of those completing the program to graduate. If they fail the program, an alternative sentence of jail time or intensive probation will occur; if they complete the program, charges could be dropped.
“It’s determined on a case by case basis, but it’s a program that serves a real need,” stated Brakefield, adding that the program was cut from the Holbrook and Winslow areas over a year ago due to lack of funding for employees. It was maintained in the south county as the area of higher drug related charges.
In other action, the board:
* Approved the results of the 27 Board of Equalization hearings conducted on Sept. 6.
* Approved an amendment to a contract between the Navajo County Health Services District and the Arizona Department of Health Services for the Arizona Nutrition Network Program in the amount of $293,630 for funding for the period of Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012.
* Approved a memorandum of understanding for a collaboration between the First Things First funded early literacy project operated by the Navajo County Library District and the proposed First Things First funded Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center Healthy Steps for Young Children program.
* Approved a revolving credit agreement to be signed by Treasurer Manny Hernandez, Board Chairman David Tenney and County Attorney Brad Carlyon.
* Approved a one-year contract for mortuary services with Owens Livingston Mortuary in the amount of $7,183.60.
* Authorized a grant agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the county for a justice assistance grant in the amount of $10,991 with no match required from the county. The funds will be used for enhancements to the evidence trailer utilized by the Show Low Police Department and the Major Crimes Apprehension Team.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management for the use and maintenance responsibility of Mobile Interoperable Communications Systems. The agreement states that the Arizona Department of Transportation, rather than the county, will now provide maintenance and fuel for the vehicle. An additional change will be expanded safety requirements for operators.