Sheriff’s office budget cuts on hold
By RACHEL BRANT
Bremerton Patriot Staff writer
April 23, 2009 · Updated 2:12 PM
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) will not be forced to lay off any deputies for now, according to Deputy Scott Wilson, KCSO spokesman.
Wilson said the Kitsap County commissioners recommended all county departments, aside from KCSO, trim their budgets by 6 percent last week.
Wilson said a 6 percent cut to KCSO’s budget would have been a little more than $1 million, meaning 11 deputies would have been laid off, dropping the personnel strength down to 111.
Wilson said KCSO is already one of the lowest staffed law enforcement offices in the state, and possibly the nation, so a 6 percent budget cut would have been detrimental to the agency and, in turn, the public’s safety.
County departments also were asked to determine how a 4 percent cut to their budgets would impact them and Wilson said KCSO would have lost roughly $683,000, meaning seven deputies would have been let go.
Cuts are not completely off the radar, but merely on hold for the time being, he explained. Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and his staff are busy applying for grant money to provide much-needed funds to the agency.
KCSO should know later this year if they’ve received any grant money, but if they do not get the funding necessary, cuts will have to be made at that time.
“If the grants don’t come in or they don’t come in in the amounts we’d like, we may have to make some cuts,” Wilson said. “Right now, we’re on hold.”
Boyer told the Bremerton Patriot last week the county has experienced a decreasing crime rate for years thanks to the men and women of the sheriff’s office and thought if deputies were let go, the crime rate could increase.
“My guys have had eight years of decreasing crime rates in Kitsap County because of good people and good work,” Boyer said. “Now is not the time to lay people off.”
Wilson said KCSO recognizes other county departments are being forced to cut 6 percent from their budgets and KCSO is not out of the woods just yet.
“We recognize the big sacrifice that other departments in the county are making,” he said. “There’s no lack of understanding on our part.”