TAYLORSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Citing budget cuts as the reason, the Spencer County sheriff said he will end around-the-clock law enforcement services.
In a news release sent to WAVE 3 News, Sheriff Buddy Stump said deputies will end their 24/7 patrols effective April 5.
Stump said that after his budget was cut approximately 13 percent - from $780,000 to $680,000 - there would be on average one shift a day that would not be covered.
According to Stump, County Judge-Executive John Riley and two magistrates have been trying to cut the budget for months, but it was a 3-3 tie. Stump said one of the magistrates opposed to the budget cuts could not be there today, so Riley "took advantage of it" and voted to cut the budget 3-2. Riley countered that the vote took place during a regularly scheduled meeting. He said he did not know why one magistrate was absent.
Stump said other county agencies did not see their budgets cut and some saw increases.
"It's a very dangerous situation for the citizens of Spencer County," Stump said. "I would think the last thing they would want to do is cut public safety."
The sheriff's office was once part-time, but went full-time in February 2012.
Stump said Kentucky State Police will have to respond to emergencies in Spencer County.
County Judge-Executive Riley called Stump's reaction "a bit of an overreaction."
He said Fiscal Court voted to set a salary cap for total deputy pay at $680,000, which is, in fact, down from the previous cap of $780,000, but he said last year's expenditures were only $687,436, so the new cap results in only a small decrease, about $7,000.
Riley said the salary cap does not include other expenses like the sheriff's salary and office operations.
"We've been struggling with balancing our budget for some time now," Riley said.
Riley explained the general fund budget in Spencer County has been diminishing and the cuts are not only to the Sheriff's Office but other departments.
"I don't think that's unreasonable in a climate where everyone has to watch their budget and cut budgets," Riley said.
He explained the residents of Spencer County will be well taken care of by both the Taylorsville Police Department and the Kentucky State Police as well.
Stump argued the Sheriff's Office was able to provide the full time police protection service that residents asked for and that the number of calls to the Sheriff's Office have increased by 20 percent in the last 90 days.
"The judge has no experience in law enforcement," Stump said. "He has no idea what me and my men have to do or have been going through. Don't count on when you call 911 a deputy being on duty and at your house in five, six, seven and ten minutes. Many times that wont be the case because there won't be one there."
The Kentucky State Police sent WAVE 3 a news release stating KSP Post 12 was aware of the changes and would be making troopers available for calls.
"If call volumes go up in Spencer County the Kentucky State Police Post 12 will make the appropriate schedule adjustments to insure the needs of the citizens of Spencer County are taken care of," the release said.