Archived Story

Shootouts hit deputy budget

Published 9:38am Thursday, January 31, 2013

Actions by the Lawrence County Commissioners in mid-January seemed to solve the funding problems the county sheriff was facing in 2013 when more than $300,000 was added to his budget.

Now with the overtime charges for separate shootings on Sunday and Tuesday Sheriff Jeff Lawless isn’t sure those appropriations will last, which puts the question of possible layoffs back on the table.

“Last week it looked like we could make it with current staffing levels,” Lawless said.

“But the last two days we called out the SWAT team twice and detectives twice. That is huge on the overtime budget.”

At its Jan. 17 meeting the county commission put $340,000 back into the sheriff’s budget to stave off looming layoffs of 22 full and part-time employees, including five road deputies.

From the wireless 911 fund $120,000 was transferred to the 911 dispatching service and $220,000 from unappropriated money in the half percent sales tax was moved to the road deputy budget, bringing that fund up to $1,001,250. That is approximately $3,900 more than was spent for deputies’ salaries and retirement in 2012. Both dispatchers and deputies had been hit with the prospect of layoffs.

Now before the first month of the New Year is over, the deputy budget has had a close to $2,000 hit.

According to Lawless four members of the county’s five-member SWAT team make $25 an hour with the team’s officer making $31 an hour.

“There is a two-hour minimum call out and the last couple of incidents they were all on the clock for four hours on the scene and another hour for debriefing,” Lawless said.

That means for both incidents the cost for the SWAT team was $1,310.

Detectives on overtime make $31 an hour so with two detectives there was $620 in additional costs to the county for the two shootings.

“If a road officer has to go into overtime or has to be called out that is an extra duty expense,” the sheriff said. “We are a 24-hour agency. It is hard to say how we will be at the end of the year. If we continue to have (these kind of expenses) we won’t make it. We will be in a financial bind again.”

  • Poor Richard

    Here are the facts commissioners: as long as this county allows rental properties that do not meet building and health codes to exist and the slum lords rent to any slime ball that comes along, as long as the sleezy motels are allowed to operate on daily rates for criminals and thugs (like the one just outside the Chesapeake Corp limits and those in South Point), as long as we have six bridges connecting two of the top drug head states to our county, and as long as Ohio legislators are doing little to nothing to solve these problems or to provide supplemental funds — well, I guess the criminal activity will continue to increase…. because quite frankly, the criminal trash moving into this county can find a nest to hold up in just nearly anywhere.

    As I have said in the past, the slum lords in this county need to be PUT OUT OF BUSINESS. The scum is moving into our county faster than the sheriff can get rid of them.

    I would like to see a huge team of law enforcement officers sweep thru this county like they are doing in Mingo County WV and haul all of them out and please do us all a favor and start on Riverside Drive in Chesapeake, you know, the bunch of them near the bridge, do you need a map too???

    (Report comment)

  • Scratching My Head

    Developers usually have utilities already onsite. That is how they are able to get the big asking price for their property. Freddie just got his buddies to have the taxpayers pay to develop his property.

    (Report comment)

  • Shooter1

    And take back the 100k for Freddie Hayes’ sewer line. I see many levies on upcoming ballots.

    I can understand the Swat Team’s need on Hog Run but not at shooting on 243.

    Something has got to give. Only not the property owners of our county.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    $1900 spent was absolutely necessary and well spent.
    My problem is, this just blew the budget for the whole year?
    Especially when $300,000 was just transfered ?
    Also, why did the sheriff have to threaten layoffs to get more money. No one looks at the budget except the sheriff?

    (Report comment)

  • Digi

    I can’t believe they even question paying the swat team and detectives for the type of work they have to respond to. It’s well worth the extra 1900 bucks for that job. Commissioners need to get with the program and realize people want police coverage and safety comes first not this buddy buddy land deals crap!

    (Report comment)

  • Skye

    @mikehaney, why would you even bring up the feds and the hawaiian vacation? Oh, never mind, it’s plain to see.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Just like the feds; our local gov’t just spends all the money then goes to the tax payer for more.
    I wish I could do that. Hawaiian vacation every year for me, and invite all the relatives.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Actions by the Lawrence County Commissioners in mid-January seemed to solve the funding problems the county sheriff was facing in 2013 when more than $300,000 was added to his budget.
    That means for both incidents the cost for the SWAT team was $1,310.
    Detectives on overtime make $31 an hour so with two detectives there was $620 in additional costs to the county for the two shootings.
    $1900.00 verses $300,000.00——???????
    Am I missing something here?

    (Report comment)

    • RBAGUY

      The $300,000 + appropriated by the Commissioners would have allowed the Sheriff’s office to operate at its normal day to day level through the end of the year, very little overtime and people working as scheduled. When unusual incidents that can’t be anticipated (i.e. two shootings requirng SWAT response and overtime for detectives) occur, that money isn’t budgeted and exceeds the available funds appropriated. So, to live within the budget, it might be necessary to lay off deputies or other staff later in the year.

      (Report comment)

      • swimmingupstream

        You obviously work for the government because on the a big government guy would say incidents like happened Sunday and Tuesday weren’t predictable. You may not be able to predict just when or where they are going to happen but sure as the sun rises in the morning they are going to happen and should be accounted for in the budget.

        Guess what? There will be a hurricane hit the United States later this year. Has our federal government prepared for that? NO

        (Report comment)

  • swimmingupstream

    Money can be saved by eliminating dispatching by the sheriff’s office and let 911 handle the duties – LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO!!!!!

    It’ll never happen…

    (Report comment)

Editor's Picks

Fundraiser set for Coal Grove teen

COAL GROVE — A community-wide effort to win Devyn Pritchard a wheelchair accessible van from a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association contest fell short earlier ... Read more

Special needs camp teaches bike-riding

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The father didn’t want anyone to see, so he tried to casually brush them away. But the tears that welled in his ... Read more

Antique equipment shows off history

Ohio lies in a unique position within the United States, with part of the state situated in the Mid-West and the southeastern portion of the ... Read more

Unexpected heroes

Passersby help people trapped in burning house   Heroes don’t always wear capes, uniforms or badges. They aren’t always scanning the skies, or roaming alleyways ... Read more