Whitesburg KY

Sheriff’s office forced to lay off employees

Citing a lack of money, the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department will suspend its 24-hour dispatching services beginning Saturday.

“ The funds have been cut so much and it is just getting harder and harder to keep the office going the way I am doing it,” said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb. “It costs so much to keep it running 24 hours a day.”

As of Feb. 5, dispatching services in the sheriff ’s department will operate until midnight on weekdays and until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and be closed on Sundays.

Sheriff ’s deputies will still be available and will be dispatched by the 911 center at the Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard. Dial 911 if it is an emergency or 1-800-222-5555 if a deputy is needed.

Webb said three dispatchers will lose their jobs, but that no deputies will be laid off right now. Webb said the only police cruisers allowed to be driven to deputies’ residences are for deputies on road duty.

“These measures are being taken to assure we have officers still working on the road and to provide other services,” said Webb.

Webb hopes the cutbacks will be temporary. He said every effort will be made to return the sheriff ’s department dispatch center back to normal as soon as possible.

“I just want the public to know we will still be there to answer their calls,” he said.

Webb said the sheriff department’s budget will be voted on by the fiscal court at its February meeting.

Webb suspended around-theclock service once before, in February 2007, because his office had not collected all of its tax money and had to borrow $40,000 from the fiscal court. The sheriff ’s department resumed 24-hour dispatching services on Aug. 1, 2007.

Webb said he hopes to get the 24-hour dispatching services back in the next four or five months.

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