Letcher County Sheriff's Department Facing Funding Problems

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

Beginning at midnight Friday night, dispatchers from the Hazard State Police post will be taking the calls for the Letcher County Sheriff's Department until eight in the morning and while sheriff's deputies will still be out on duty, officials say it will impact the state police.

Before you see the sirens, they get the calls.

For more than 15 years, the Letcher County Sheriff's Department has made a dispatcher available to take calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"It's unusual for Eastern Kentucky. Most sheriffs’ departments don't have to do that," said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb.

Beginning at midnight Friday night, that service will be temporarily put on hold due to a lack of funding. Sheriff Webb says it's because they usually start collecting tax money near the beginning of October but this year due to circumstances out of their control, they didn't start until November 15th.

"Where it happened so late, I didn't have time to collect the money, so the fiscal court voted so I could keep the office open and loan me forty thousand dollars," Webb said.

Webb says he knew cutbacks had to be made until they could pay the money back and with the help of state police, he was able to do that.

"We have the resources available to make sure the public calls for service get answered," said Capt. Jeff Caudill.

State Police officials say the increased volume of calls won't be anything they can't handle, so that you're still safe no matter who answers the phone call.

Deputies will still be out, serving complaints and Sheriff Webb says he hopes to have the 24 hour dispatcher in his office back in operation in just a few months.

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