When Deputy Trevor Mishler was hired by Roberts County Sheriff's Department, there weren’t enough patrol cruisers to go around and some of the equipment being used by deputies was outdated and past its serviceable life. The Sheriff and county staff gave the deputy the green light to look for funding to purchase an additional vehicle and upgraded equipment. That’s when Deputy Mishler came across Rural Development’s Community Facilities Loans and Grants.
“I was scouring the internet looking for anything that could help us get the things we needed to effectively and proactively patrol the county,” said Trevor. “When I saw Rural Development offered grants, I reached out to Katie to start the application.”
Katie Hammer is a Loan Specialist with Rural Development’s Community Facilities program. She said often, there are several conversations between an applicant and the program staff before an application is submitted, but Deputy Mishler was different.
“He was very thorough in his questions while we talked on the phone,” said Katie. “I had expected to hear back from him a few more times before seeing the application, but instead his paperwork was submitted, and we were able to begin the approval process.”
Katie said it can take some time to gather the needed documentation to support an application. This can sometimes slow down the application. For Roberts County, the information was readily available and was submitted along with the additional paperwork.
Torian Mitchell is one of Rural Development’s Loan Technician. Once the required paperwork is received, he verifies the packet for accuracy and has all the required documents. “This was one of the most complete applications I have reviewed, so it made it easy to keep the paperwork moving,” said Torian. “Everything checked out and Katie was able to submit it for approval.”
The department was able to purchase a new cruiser and 10 tasers with the grant. Department computers also were upgraded through funding from the State. Trevor said the cruiser has computers and modern communications equipment, which relays back to the Sheriff’s Department, which has greatly improved their ability to stay on patrol.
“Before we had this upgraded equipment we would need to go back to the office to write reports. Now I can do everything on-scene from my cruiser,” said Trevor. “The tasers we purchased also have wi-fi built in, so if we need to deploy those we have all the data uploaded to the system that shows when and for how long we used the taser.”
Katie recommends communities that have identified a need reach out. “We have a lot of programs through Community Facilities and even Rural Business,” said Katie. “We work hard to identify programs that may work for communities and even if Rural Development doesn’t have one, we work very closely with other agencies around the state that might have funds for projects.”
Trevor said the investment from Rural Development has really changed the way they do their job. In the past, much of the work being done was based on calls coming into the dispatcher and those calls needed to be prioritized due to the lack of resources and equipment available.
“Now we’re able to be much more proactive, have a much greater presence in the community and not just responding to calls,” said Trevor. “Because the eight communities we serve are seeing us more often, we’re also seeing an increase in support. We’re hearing about what’s going on around the county before it becomes a major problem.”
Rural Development offers programs for communities, businesses and homeowners. To learn how we can help your community visit RD.USDA.Gov/SD.