Ann Richards’ office has asked the federal government for $781,640 to offset costs for McLennan County and the state during the standoff at Mount Carmel.
The funds would offset overtime costs for the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Department of Public Safety, which have provided perimeter security at the standoff near Elk.
Ken Carter, the comptroller for the governor’s criminal justice division, said the application is still pending with the U.S. Justice Department.
“The money is to be awarded to the governor’s office,” Carter said. “This is supposed to be real fast.”
McLennan County Judge Jim Lewis said the county has asked for $190,000.
At first, he said, the county was sending 60 deputies and spending $13,500 a day to help secure the compound.
The DPS is handling much of the manpower requirements now, Lewis said.
Mike Cox, a spokesman for the DPS in Austin, said he could not give the department’s total cost of the standoff or the number of DPS personnel involved.
Tom Hill, a spokesman for the ATF in Washington, said the federal government does not reimburse local agencies.
“No one was paid in the past,” he said earlier this month.
However, there is a fund for that very type of expense—the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Fund, which has been around for almost 10 years.
“The fund was set up in 1984,” said Christopher A. Rizzuto, the deputy director of the office of congressional and public affairs for the office of justice program at the U.S. Justice Department. “The idea was to provide a federal fund for money for extraordinary or uncommon law enforcement situations.”
“It’s a well-known program,” he said.
He noted that federal law enforcement officials may not know of it since it deals more with state and local governments.
Disbursements from the fund include:
- Hurricane Hugo in September, 1989; $4 million total for South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- San Francisco earthquake in October 1989; $4.9 million to California.
- Gainesville, Fla. student homicides; $1.1 million to Florida.
Larry Neal, a press secretary for U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-College Station, said the funding request will have to be approved by Janet Reno, President Clinton’s new attorney general.
The fund currently has $1.7 million available.
Yet, just because the state has requested $781,640 doesn’t mean it will get it, Rizzuto said.