Law officers discuss fiscal worries

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Lawrence County law enforcement agencies pooled their resources together Friday to combat what could be their toughest foe yet - budget cuts.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said the agencies work together everyday but they do not really get to talk. He said Friday's meeting was a means to allow for that and to let them know things are going to change.

"There's not an agency that doesn't have concerns," Sexton said.

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Having already made a proposal to the Lawrence County Commission to combine the 911 dispatch center with his own, Sexton is determined to make changes in law enforcement operations. He said some will be drastic.

One change Sexton said he wants made is with non-emergency calls. He said those calls should be handled by telephone only.

"It frees up officers to get to emergencies and cuts gas costs," Sexton said. "My priority is emergency calls, then we'll filter it from there."

Sexton said he keeps hearing the word "cut."

"We are cutting, and it's going to make it tougher," he said. "I have no alternative than to change the way we operate."

Changes may have to be made, but protecting the public is still the most important issue.

"I think there should be more of a priority to protect the public," said Assistant Chief Sue Mays of the Chesapeake Police Department.

She said the meeting allowed for a better communication between the different agencies.

Though solutions have not been set, the agencies have a better idea at what must be done.

"For us all to be as effective as we can, we have to work together," said Lt. Carl Roark of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.