Budget Crisis Brings Concerns for Washington County Residents

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- - Washington County Sheriff's Office is in a budget crisis. 

They're asking the Quorum Court for $1.4 million dollars to help keep the community and their deputies safe.

Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said he wants to add 11 new positions to his law enforcement staff.

This will be the first budget increase in 10 years, according to the sheriff. 

"We have found ourselves in the unenviable position that when we have found the time to do studies on what our actual needs are on the enforcement side..we kind of find ourselves in a budget crunch," said Helder. 

8 patrol deputies, two courthouse security deputies, and a civil animal control officer.

Helder hopes by adding these positions, his deputies will be better protected out on the streets.

 "We're also asking for money for equipment like vehicles. Whatever it takes to equip an officer." said Helder.

Helder said the type of calls they respond to have become more dangerous and serious. Attempted suicide calls are up 29%, and domestic disturbances are up 31%.

"We respond with the thought in mind that they're going to be weapons involved. They're people at a heightened level of anxiety," said Helder.

Within the past two and a half years, two Washington County deputies have been shot responding to those types of calls.

 "The past several years, we don't have the man power to adequately respond to those in the way that we should," said Helder.

Helder said it's important for deputies to have more manpower.

 "I think everybody understands that we just live in a different world," explained Helder. "Our guys watch national news. They see the angst out there. They see the anger. And unfortunately, most the calls we respond to fit in that mode." 

He's hopeful the quorum court will understand the growing needs fo the sheriff's office.

Helder will present the budget increase to the quorum court Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

 


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