Posted: Thu, February 21 2013 at 12:16 AM, Updated: Thu, February 21 2013 at 12:33 AM
Major cuts to local law enforcement as the Jackson County Sheriff's Department hands out 66 pink slips, cutting roughly a third of their department. NBC5's Laura Cavanaugh reports.
More than one-third of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department's 186 employees were handed pink slips on Tuesday.
"When you deal with cuts that run that deep, it affects the entire agency, patrols, corrections, records" said Sheriff Mike Winters, detailing the severity of the impending layoffs.
Winters says the cuts are across-the-board, based on seniority, from the bottom up. He says the layoffs are a result of a reported seven figure budget shortfall.
"If we don't find a way to close the gap, we will have a substantial reduction in rural patrol, elimination or cutback on SWAT and Search and Rescue," said Winters.
County Administrator, Danny Jordan, says the county is negotiating a new contract with the Sheriff's Employees Association. He says the cuts are required due to declining revenues and rising costs that are out of the county's control.
If no other money is freed up in the budget, those law enforcement personnel could be out of a job in 28 days.
The county and the union are still trying to settle a roughly $2.7 million dollar gap in negotiations. While an arbitrator will rule on the matter next week, insiders say regardless cuts to public safety are coming.
The county is reportedly also making cuts in Human Resources, IT, Community Probation and the District Attorney's office, among others.