SPOKANE--The number of deputies on Spokane County streets is falling and the city says the only way to make up for it is overtime.
The sheriff's office is down 32 deputies in the last three years and that drop in manpower means a huge spike in overtime costs, which got close to $2 million for 2012. That’s nearly $1 million more than what was projected.
Two shot deputies and a huge spike in burglaries are behind the highest amount we the taxpayers have ever paid.
The sheriff says we're down 32 deputies, and until we hire more, people’s safety is compromised, but making those hires isn't cheap.
The annual salaries and benefits alone for those 32 needed deputies would put us at close to $3 million. When you factor in training costs, the academy and all the required testing, it's a huge expense that the sheriff says would likely result in some sort of bond the taxpayers would have to approve.
At any given time, there are about 15 deputies on patrol in the county and valley. That averages out to about .6 deputies per thousand citizens. The average state ratio for deputies is 1.5 per thousand.