Each year millions, if not billions, of dollars of grant money is made available to local law enforcement agencies by state and federal governments.
The money is used for equipment, training and in some instances, building improvements and construction.
To try and save the taxpayers of Cannon County money, Sheriff Billy Nichols wants to tap into that potential funding resource.
The problem is, the process of acquiring state and federal grant money can be complicated and time-consuming. Researching what grants are available, determining what the money can be used for, writing the grant application and addressing any questions that may arise during the decision-making process can sometimes take months, if not years.
To facilitate his efforts in acquiring grant money, Sheriff Nichols has done some reorganization of his staff and has created the new position of grant writer/public information officer.
“Our objective is to turn this position, one which is already being paid for by the taxpayers of Cannon County, into one that not only pays for itself, but also brings in thousands of extra dollars to Cannon County,” Nichols said.
Filling the new position will be Andy Bryson, former publisher and editor of the Cannon Courier.
“For decades Mr. Bryson has shown himself to be a thorough, meticulous and dedicated professional,” Nichols said. “Anyone who is aware of his work as publisher of the newspaper knows he possess a tireless work ethic. I am positive his work for the sheriff’s department will benefit the county in a number of ways, including financially.”
As grant writer for the sheriff’s department, Bryson will:
• Through interviews and other means, gather information that will easily allow him to grasp the concept of a project or program for which funding is sought as defined by the person responsible for carrying it out.
• Acquire and maintain sound knowledge and understanding of the sheriff’s department, and use that knowledge and understanding to better comprehend all projects and programs for which grants will be sought and to recommend the seeking of grants.
• Research grant-making government agencies and non-government organizations and analyze them to identify likely funding sources for specific projects and programs.
• Compile, write, and edit all grant applications exhibiting strong expository writing skills and a high-level command of grammar and spelling.
• Review the budget of a project or program for which funding is sought and make recommendations to better present it to grant-making organizations.
• Keep in contact with grant-making agencies during their review of a submitted grant application in order to be able to supply additional supportive material.
“Additionally, through his work as a newspaper executive, Bryson has developed a number of contacts at the local, state and federal government levels that will prove to be valuable in our efforts to secure grant monies,” Nichols said.
As public relations officer for the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department, Bryson will perform the following essential functions, Nichols said:
• Answer requests for information
• Disseminate information to media
• Respond to major crime scenes
• Coordinate press conferences
• Attend staff meetings
• Assist during disasters
• Serve as Court Officer when needed in General Sessions, Circuit and Chancery Court
• Prepare and disseminate press releases
• Take photographs for use in presenting cases for prosecution.
Bryson’s family has a history of service to Cannon County. His great grandfather, James Buchanan Smith served as Sheriff from 1914 to 1918. His grandfather’s brother, J.T. (Tip) Smith, also served as Sheriff from 1934 to 1948 (undefeated in 6 two-year terms) and his grandfather, Henry Smith served as Circuit Court Clerk from 1922 to 1934. In total from 1840 to 1948 there were five “Smith family” sheriffs.
After being appointed permanent Grand Jury Foreman by Circuit Judge J.S. (Steve) McDaniel in 1988, Bryson has served in that capacity for the past 20 years.