SHELTON, Wash. - Commissioners are expected to ask the Sheriff to cut $382,111 from its already threadbare 2009 budget at the Commission Meeting to be held on April 14. Layoffs are expected to take place on April 15, 2009. According to Sheriff Casey Salisbury, cuts of this magnitude will mean cutting as many as five deputies from the patrol division. "Anytime we have to take deputies off the street, response times will increase and so will crime." Salisbury went on to say "At the end of 2008 we had just started to turn the corner on the horrific crime rate in our community. We were able to establish programs such as the Drug K-9, a Special Operations and Narcotics Unit, an enhanced Search and Rescue Unit, and a Traffic Unit. Those programs have been making a difference. For the first time in over 20 years, we were able to take the offense against crime rather than just react to it." Mason County has the highest non-urban violent crime rate and burglary rate in the State of Washington.
Please remember that the Sheriff's Office has already made cuts in an attempt to address the reductions in revenue in the county. As of January 1, 2009 three civilian employees and one deputy were laid off due to budget cuts. Additionally the Jail was not allowed to fill one open position. Along with the patrol deputy, those positions included one animal control officer, an evidence officer, and a community service officer who served civil papers. Additionally, two deputies were moved into state grant funded positions to offset budget reductions so the Sheriff could avoid laying them off. Serving civil papers is a constitutionally mandated function of the Sheriff. The layoffs we have experienced have caused uniformed officers and even command staff to absorb an additional 200 hrs per week in mandated functions along with their normal duties. For example, Sheriff Salisbury, the Undersheriff, and Chief Deputies are routinely out in the community serving civil process. The bottom line is that we have run out of places to cut without negatively affecting public safety.