Budget Cuts put Law Enforcement Jobs on the Line

February 16, 2005--Posted at 6:30 p.m. CST

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY-- Budget cuts are putting law enforcement jobs on the line in Independence County.

The Sheriff's Department says job cuts may include several deputy officers and jail staff.

"The budget is just short, very short. Our county treasurer has just told us that we are approximately $400 thousand dollars in the well," quorum court member Ernie Pectal says.

In order to shape up the budget justices of the peace informed all county departments that they must cut their budgets by 8.8 percent.

For the Sheriff's office, proposed cuts put seven jobs on the line.

"There are probably some other areas where he could cut some, but in reality though, it would probably be hard to do that much cutting without affecting some personnel," Pectal says.

Sheriff's Department Captain Bill Lindsey says, "These are friends, you know, people we work with everyday, and it's just like family so it's kind of sad."

The Sheriff's Department said they are not only worried about deputies and jail staff that may lose their jobs, they're also concerned about the safety of the county without full staff.

"We want to provide the service we can, but we must have the cut. We're going to have to cut some budgets," Pectal says.

"I'm no genius. I don't have the answers for it. I don't know that anybody does, but I think in the long run it's going to be devastating for the county," Lindsey says.

Pectal say the quorum court might not have any choice but to stand by the budget cut, but he says the final decision as to where the cuts are made is out of the court's hands.

"We can just recommend to the Sheriff. There may be some positions and things we can deal with, but ultimately, the decision will be his," Pectal says.