TUCSON, Ariz. — The Pima County Sheriff's Department faces the prospect of losing more than a million dollars in federal funds. That's because the Pima County Law Enforcement Partnership Commission voted 6-4 not to recommend approval of the Stonegarden grant to the Board of Supervisors.
The grant would support collaboration between Federal Border Patrol Agents and local law enforcement and would provide funds for approved immigration operations and related equipment.
The discussion at a commission meeting on Monday resulted in a heated debated. Sheriff Mark Napier was there to field questions about how he would handle the federal funding for immigration operations and equipment, in conjunction with Border Patrol Agents.
"Rejecting this money or a recommendation of a rejection of this money does nothing, nothing positive for Pima County," Napier said.
However, Napier couldn't convince the committee to accept the federal money for the Stonegarden program.
"They are Pima County Sheriffs, and they work for Pima County. They should not be doing the job of federal board patrol agents," Chair of CLEPC Kristen Randall said.
Randall was 1 of the 6 commission members who voted no.
District 4 commission member Terry Parish didn't agree. "We're accepting money from the federal government so we can support operations to keep Americans, not Americans and other people safe," Parish said.
The commission's recommendation now goes to the Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Steve Christy, who was at the commission meeting and supports the grant, said he predicts the board will not approve this grant.