Clark County Sheriff’s Office seeks at least $500K to add deputies

Sheriff says additional deputies needed for road patrols to address uptick in calls.

The Clark County sheriff is requesting additional deputies for its force to address an uptick in calls.

Sheriff Deborah K. Burchett told Clark County commissioners this week that her office is requesting between $500,000 to $700,000 for the employment of four deputies to serve on road patrol and a deputy to spearhead the service of legal papers.

Burchett told commissioners that the sheriff’s office is in “a bit of a crisis.”

Calls are up roughly 3,500 from last year. Also, in the past week the sheriff’s office has confiscated 40 guns from 40 different people through traffic stops in Clark County.

“We can’t run with the same amount of deputies in 1980 as we are today,” she said.

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The sheriff’s office has 90 deputies, with 23 serving on road patrol covering three shifts.

Burchett said she hopes to hire corrections officers into deputy positions, then fill the vacant corrections positions, Burchett told commissioners during the board’s informal session Wednesday. The county has 29 corrections officers.

In 2019, the sheriff’s office began to hire corrections officers to work in the Clark County Jail instead of deputies as a cost-saving effort.

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Multiple deputies of the sheriff’s office, Burchett said, already are funded through contracts with roughly 20 partnering agencies. For example, one of her deputies, funded through Interfaith Hospitality Network, which provide housing to Clark County homeless residents, is assigned to an area near hotels on Leffel Lane in Springfield, where Burchett said her office has seen an abundance of activity.

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“Leffel Lane is a nightmare,” she told commissioners.

A road patrol deputy has been sent to assist the deputy assigned to Leffel Lane. A minimum of three cars are on patrol during the day, and the third shift includes four patrol cars.

“We’re just trying to keep our deputies safe and our community safe,” Burchett said.

Much of Leffel Lane falls under the jurisdiction of the Springfield Police Division. The News-Sun inquired about the number of cases that were associated with Leffel Lane since the pandemic’s beginning and in 2019, and the police division asked the newspaper to file a public records request.

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The county commissioners did not act on the request for additional deputies during Wednesday’s meeting, but they did note they would revisit the conversation in December when they discuss the county’s budget.

Commissioner Rich Lohnes pointed to a result that could occur with the increase in manpower to the county’s streets: the number of arrests made will increase, which also will increase the number of people housed in the county’s jail and the costs to the court system.

“We’ve got another issue ahead,” Lohnes said.


By the Numbers:

23: The number of Clark County Sheriff’s deputies assigned to road patrol

29: The number of corrections officers working in Clark County jail

5: The number of additional deputies requested for the sheriff’s office.

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