Knox Co. Judge Executive, Chief Deputy address 911 concerns

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KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The campaign signs prompted voters to "Keep Sheriff John Pickard," but the votes went another way in Knox County, and now the Sheriff's staff knows their time is coming to a close.

"We have to close everything out by the end of the year and we have a lot of open cases, a lot of paperwork, and with the call volume it's tough to get down time to work on that," explained Chief Deputy Derek Eubanks, who only has to look at the corner of his desk to be reminded of that lengthy "to-do" list.

"There's still cases going through court and things. Some stuff we will have to turn over."

With an end date set for this sheriff's 12-year tenure, the question now turns to staffing and how many deputies will be around to answer calls by the end of the year.

"The sheriff has the thinking that a lot of his deputies won't be rehired by the next sheriff," stated Knox County Judge Executive J.M. Hall.

"That is the rumor that's being told, so we have some deputies that want to know if we had a problem with them looking for a job," added Eubanks, "No, I do not."

With a staff of just five road deputies and a sixth going through the academy, the work load may become even more overwhelming.

"The call volume in Knox County it is tremendous," described Eubanks.

The concern started to spread that deputies may not be take any 911 calls, which the Judge Executive was quick to investigate.

"We had some calls that the Sheriff's office was not going to respond to 911 calls. That's not true," answered Hall.

Still this transition calls for a new plan, that will best suit the county.

"We have talked with the State Police and we've worked out an agreement with them," explained Eubanks.

"It's not going to be dumped on the state police, they're going to collaborate," clarified Hall, saying the deputies will still be the first responders to calls in the county.

Eubanks went on to explain that the Troopers will be called in to handle investigative cases that may carry on past the end of the year. He added that would best suit the victims because the Trooper would be able to handle any new leads that may come about after the new Sheriff's staff takes office. The KSP post will have seven troopers in Knox County to help with reports.

Still everyone wants to reassure the residents that if you call 911, you'll still get a response it just may depend if it's a white deputy vehicle or a gray State Police car that shows up.

"We're not quitting, we can't quit," said Eubanks, "We've got too much to do."

The deputies will still be responsible for collecting taxes this coming fall.

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