At a time of isolation like most of us are experiencing at the moment and will be for the short-term future, thoughts of being out on a boat on a Wright County lake in the summer seems like a dream. However, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office is looking to the days when the quarantining – forced or by choice – will be over.
At the March 24 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, Sergeant Brian Johnson of the sheriff’s office sought to get approval for a Federal Supplemental Boating Safety Patrol Grant through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $9,500.
While the amount may not be overly significant in the big picture of things, for the sheriff’s office water patrol division it is a big deal in terms of being able to have a much larger presence on county lakes during the high-traffic weekends of summer.
“That grant allows roughly 200 to 250 additional hours of enforcement that we use on the lakes educational-wise,” Johnson said. “We primarily focus on the weekends. A lot of the grant is contingent on weather and different circumstances, but it does allow us to get two to four additional Recreational Service members out on a weekend – getting out there and doing some enforcement and education.”
This isn’t something new to Wright County. The sheriff’s office has been receiving federal for two decades and, when the money has been available, Wright County has jumped at the opportunity to augment its water enforcement. And, as Johnson pointed out, no county dollars are needed to receive the grant funding.
“We’ve been participating with this grant for years,” Johnson said. “There’s no (county) match. We are just based on our numbers and our stats. I believe we are right about the same as last year – I think we were at $9,500 last year, too.”
The county board unanimously approved acceptance of the grant amount. The grant has an effective date of May 8 and must be expended by Sept. 7.