EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWS911 JOBS SAVED
from Eyewitness News Online
Lawrence County Sheriff Fears For Public Safety With Cuts In Deputy Jobs
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Jan. 10, 2013 5:09 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 11, 2013 10:07 AM EST
Ironton , Lawrence County , Ohio
Budget money has been freed up to save 15 jobs at the Lawrence County 911 center, but the county’s sheriff said he is concerned about the public’s safety because there likely will be five fewer sheriff’s deputies on the road next month.
"We have got to get these deputies back on the streets. Crime is rampant. Thefts are out of control. Drug crimes are through the roof," Sheriff Jeff Lawless said.
County budget cuts led Lawless to hand out 22 layoff notices earlier this week. He met with county commissioners Thursday morning, who asked him to relinquish control of 911. That freed up budget money to save 15 911 jobs. As of right now, the other seven employees at the sheriff's office are in limbo. Five of those are deputies; the other two employees are a corrections officer and a dispatch clerk.
There are 16 road deputies assigned to take calls in more than 450 square miles of Lawrence County. Even now, it's a big task to tackle, but Lawless said he is concerned about response times, especially in rural areas, if he has five fewer deputies on patrol.
"There's no easy way to get across Lawrence County in any fashion, so it puts the citizens in more danger in my opinion," he said.
While the result could have been worse, Lawless said it's still a pretty dire issue to save those positions. "We want to make sure our schools are protected, our citizens are protected and our businesses," he said.
Commissioners said things could change if more revenue comes in this year than expected.
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