INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The city of Batesville will soon have its own police department. Last year, council members voted to end their agreement with the Independence County Sheriff's Department.
Independence County Sheriff Steve Jeffery said that transition could happen sooner than later, depending on how fast the Batesville Police Department gets started.
Jeffery said after the split, his force will be cut in half but that's not the only division to see cuts.
"We had a narcotics unit here. That's gone now because we don't have enough people to staff it," Jeffery said. "The drug task force is going to take over those duties."
Jeffery said he doesn't believe the city is going to take on all of the metro employees.
"There's going to be some people unfortunately out of a job and I hate to see that," Jeffery said. " The city pays for so many officers and so many secretaries and the county pays for so many. When the city splits June the 18th, the deputies don't know if they're going to have a job or not and the secretaries pretty well know they're not going to have a job."
He's unsure of how the workload will be until they are a few months into the split.
Jeffery said the Batesville Police Department will handle matters within city limits and the sheriff's department will handle calls within the county. They will assist each other if needed.
Jeffery said he plans to ask the quorum court to allow him to fill 2 positions in his department.
"If they do, I'll have 16 deputies on the street," said Jeffery. "If they don't we'll have 2 shifts with 4 deputies on the street and 2 shifts with 3."
Despite a reduction in staff, Jeffery said he expects his department to successfully continue working.
The deadline for the split is June 18.