Swanson: Grants Crucial To Office Operation

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said the grants he applies for are crucial to funding his office’s operation each and every year.

In an interview with WNYNewsNow Thursday morning, Swanson said that his office would be further depleted without the grant money.

“(The grants) provide, essentially, all of the funding for two of my prosecutors, along with investigators, ” Swanson said. “It’s vital that we get those because, without them, we have two less attorneys, which puts us even further behind when it comes to the number of attorneys we have staffing the office.”

Any time a department is awarded a grant, the Chautauqua County Legislature has to approve the acceptance of the grant. Swanson said he anticipates that the county will accept the funds.

“It’s very rare that they (the Legislature) say no to accepting money from the state, so I would expect they accept the grant,” Swanson said. “It’s something they do every year. 

One of the resolutions, if passed by the full County Legislature, would allow the offices of the District Attorney and Sheriff to accept an award worth $66,750 from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) 2019 Stop Violence Against Women (VAWA) Grant Program to be used in 2019.

According to the resolution, the funds are to be utilized for an Assistant District Attorney designated as a Special Victim’s Prosecutor, a part time Deputy Sheriff and a Spanish Interpreter/Victim Advocate/Cultural Liaison.

Swanson also recently applied for a grant worth $80,400 from New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance as part of its Crimes Against Revenue Program for 2019.

The funds, according to the resolution, must be utilized to develop and implement an effective enforcement strategy (“strategic plan”) in collaboration with the State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) and other governmental agencies, as appropriate, in order to
detect, investigate, prosecute and deter revenue crimes.

The revenues and expenditures associated with this grant are already
included in the 2019 adopted budget, according to the resolution, so no budget amendments are necessary. Borrello would be authorized and directed to execute necessary agreements with the State of New York to obtain these funds.

Swanson, according to another resolution, has also applied for a grant in the amount of $600,000 from the New York State Office of Victim Services as part of its VOCA Victim Assistance Program for a tentative period of five years (2018-23).

The resolution states that the funds are earmarked to fill the gap in providing legal needs to crime victims by creating a partnership between the County’s Victim Assistance Center and Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY)

Crime victims would be able to receive the civil legal services they need, according to the resolution.