BENTON -- The Scott County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund is providing much-needed funding for law enforcement and prosecution.
County commissioners discussed activity related to the fund during their regular meeting Tuesday.
Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said the fund enables the county to make purchases for the prosecutor and sheriff offices that it would not otherwise be able to fund. "This is kind of an 'icing on the cake' fund," he said.
"We can only spend this money on stuff that is not already a budgeted item for either office," Commissioner Jamie Burger said. "It gives us the ability to enhance some of our equipment that we couldn't afford to spend county funds on or purchase things that weren't budgeted items that come up throughout the year."
The money for this fund comes from a court fee that can be imposed by the judge along with other fines.
"It amounts to quite a bit of money," Ziegenhorn said.
"In 2005 it generated $17,987," Burger said. "In 2006, so far we've received $23,238. For 2006 so far, we've spent $21,467."
Presently there is a balance of $15,199 remaining in the fund.
Among the purchases made in 2005 were two digital cameras for the Sheriff's Department for $695.
In 2006, purchases from the fund included:
* Expedited testing of DNA samples by Laboratory Corporation of America for $5,400.
The results were needed for a murder trial "because the SEMO Crime Lab is backed up so far," Ziegenhorn said.
* A donation of $7,500 toward the sheriff's K-9 unit.
* Local matching funds for new radio equipment for the Sheriff's Department.
"We had to put up 10 percent for the matching funds for a grant," Burger said. Officials said the county received over $60,000 worth of radio equipment by spending $6,000 in matching funds.
* Various personal protection equipment for the sheriff's department at a cost of $2,063.
"The whole idea is this is money we didn't have coming out of general revenue we can do some extra things with that benefit the county, the prosecutor's office and the sheriff's office," Ziegenhorn said.
A board of five members meets to approve purchases when there is a request for items that would benefit the sheriff or prosecuting attorney.
Board members in addition to Burger and Ziegenhorn are Phil DeWitt of Sikeston, Dennis L. Lowe of Benton and Ronnie Kern of Scott City.
"It's a good committee and money well spent," Ziegenhorn said.