Four Positions Lost, Other Cuts Come as a Result of 2017 Budget
The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office received the approved Lawrence County Budget for 2017. As a result of this budget four (4) salaried positions were not funded for 2017. These positions include two commissioned deputies and two civilian staff.
These cuts could potentially have a devastating effect on the Sheriff's Office and its operations. Already understaffed, these cuts may mean the delay or loss of some services by the Sheriff's Office. More importantly, officer safety now becomes a bigger issue with the loss of these positions and not having available deputies to back up or assist others.
A position will also be lost in the jail division. A division that was already pushed beyond limits with short staffing and jail population. According to Sheriff DeLay, this is probably the most dangerous issue now facing the Sheriff's Office. On many occasions, one jailer will now be responsible for supervising as many as 60-70 inmates.
Administrative cuts are also being made which will mean that there will be days that the administrative offices of the Sheriff will be closed. This will affect paper service, CCW permits, and general information assistance.
The budget cuts are a result of two major issues in Lawrence County. The first being the decrease in sales tax revenue county wide for 2016. There was an unexplainable drop in that revenue that the county hopes soon will return to normal.
The second is the overcrowding of the Lawrence County Jail. Originally built in 1986 its current capacity stands at 52. During a several month span in 2016, the population of the jail reached an all time high of 95. Because of the population explosion, several inmates had to be boarded in other counties. This cost county tax payers nearly $300,000.00 in expenses that came directly from the county's general revenue fund.
Currently there are no revenue streams other than general revenue that support county law enforcement. Because of this, the county's reserve funds are being drained by among other things, the jail and housing those inmates at other locations.
Despite the fact that the Sheriff's Office received a budget cut of nearly $150,000.00, Sheriff DeLay states that his office will continue to provide the best service possible to the citizens of Lawrence County. Law enforcement and other emergency services are often tasked with trying to do the impossible with the least amount of resources available. Sheriff DeLay believes this is no different and his office will move forward.