Sheriff to county: Give us more
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO November 22, 2013 “The manpower is our major problem,” Sheriff Mike Schiff told legislators during a 2014 budget preparation session that Thursday.
He was asking for five new patrol officers, but legislators only seemed willing to give him two.
He also wanted overtime allowances to be increased, but legislators instead pointed out that his part of the budget is already slated to increase by $2 million in the coming year.
Schiff indicated that will only cover higher costs and not allow his department to return to the staffing levels of 2011 and before, when there were 42-44 deputies, as opposed to 35 in 2013.
“I think we need to start getting ahead of the curve,” Schiff said, referencing not just existing drugs, burglaries and gang offenses but the coming crime increases expected from a casino or casinos.
“We have to live within the tax cap,” replied Legislator Kathy LaBuda, pointing out that three more deputies would cost at least $300,000 in salaries and benefits.
Schiff indicated two retirements in the coming year might offset that increase, but he added that it takes a full year to train a new deputy.
He’s had to decline local school superintendents’ requests for school resource officers (SROs) due to the lack of manpower.
“The superintendent at Tri-Valley wants to pay money for a full-time officer up there,” Schiff noted. “I just don’t have the deputy to give him.”
Monticello Supt. Dan Teplesky offered a solution to legislators at that moment.
“Our school district would step forward to help pay for some of the costs,” he said, offering to split it 70 percent school expense, 30 percent county cost.
Legislator Jonathan Rouis called for a meeting with local superintendents to discuss the idea further.