Cyber crimes unit operating as usual despite statewide funding suspension

Saturday, June 28, 2014 | 6:06 p.m. CDT; updated 6:48 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 28, 2014

COLUMBIA — The budget for the Boone County Sheriff's Department Cyber Crimes Task Force is in jeopardy because Gov. Jay Nixon is holding back a combined $1.5 million from all cyber crimes task forces in Missouri.

The funding hold-up is part of Nixon's $1.12 billion in vetoes and withholding from  Missouri's budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The cyber crimes task force of Boone County will operate as usual, though, said Boone County Sheriff's Department Detective Tracy Perkins, the task force's new coordinator.

"The funds are not 100-percent cut," Perkins said. "It's just that no money is being disbursed to anyone until further notice."

The Department of Public Safety's Financial Summary shows the governor had recommended $1 million for the state's cyber crimes task forces. This is down from the $1.5 million appropriated in fiscal year 2014, but up from the approximate $235,000 expended in fiscal year 2013.

The task forces will not hear anything regarding a reinstatement of funds until the legislature reconvenes for a special session in September.

In the meantime, the Sheriff's Department will continue to work cyber crimes cases, Perkins said. Salaries will be paid by department funds, she said.

Each cyber crimes task force applies for a portion of the currently withheld statewide funding through the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The department reviews grant requests before any money is awarded. Perkins said the grant's fiscal year runs from June 1 to May 31.

Perkins said she submitted the grant request a few weeks ago. While the timeline for approval fluctuates each year, she said, it typically takes about six weeks. The department was awaiting approval for this fiscal year's budget, but because Gov. Nixon restricted funds, none of the task forces would receive grant money for this fiscal year, or at least until after the legislature meets in September.

The budget for Boone County's cyber crimes task force covers two detectives' salaries and supplies such as software, training and equipment, Perkins said.

Under normal procedure, the cyber crimes unit operates in advance of funds because the grants aren't awarded until after the start of the fiscal year. County governments are then reimbursed following funding allocation by the Department of Public Safety.

Supervising editor is Samuel Hardiman.

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