Response times will likely grow in New Carlisle as fewer Clark County sheriff’s deputies are assigned to the city beginning this week, leaving a majority of the hours in the week unmanned.
“Anyone can figure it out and they can do the math — with only two deputies working, it does not give you 24/7 police coverage in the city,” Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said.
The two deputies will patrol the city between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday through Tuesday, Kelly said.
Deputies from the sheriff’s office will respond to emergency calls, injury crashes and crimes in progress at any hour of the day, he said.
But for non-emergency calls, like a theft or a non-injury crash, if a New Carlisle-contracted deputy isn’t on duty at the time, a report won’t be made until they return to the office.
“This is going to be a very dramatic and drastic change that people will see a response time that they’ve never seen before,” Kelly said.
The New Carlisle City Council reduced the number of deputies under contract with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office from four to two in an effort to trim operating costs. The move will save the city about $190,000 a year. Council members voted in favor of keeping the city pool — which lost approximately $20,000 in 2014 — open through 2015, according to data from the city.
The city must eliminate a minimum of $300,000 from its general fund to avoid ending the year with less than $400 or face the possibility of going into deficit spending, City Manager Kim Jones said.
If a New Carlisle deputy isn’t on duty, deputies on patrol in Pike Twp. or Bethel Twp. will respond to emergencies. But that could mean a delay in even emergency response times to the city, Kelly said.
Deputies often provide service calls — such as helping a motorist who has locked their keys in their car — and last year deputies did so 492 times. But because of the cuts in New Carlisle, Kelly said residents there might not have this service at their immediate disposal.
The city has a low crime rate, Kelly said, and reports taken in the city have gone down in recent years, but residents will have to be vigilante and secure their property.
A tax increase — which would fund policing — will be placed once on the ballot in May after it failed last November, Jones said.
If the levy passes, it is possible more deputies could be added to the city by the end of the year, she said.
“Everybody likes to feel safe in town when someone’s watching out for them and the fact that it’s budget constraints that’s keeping that from happening is unfortunate.” said David Payne, head barista at Penny Layne Art Gallery and Cafe, 109 S. Main St.
As a worker at a downtown business, he said the lack of police presence in the area is a concern.
The action of the city council to cut two deputies after the levy failure could change voters’ minds, Payne said.
“You really need to think about what your tax dollars are going to and if it’s worth it to you,” he said.
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