Benton County sheriff's department falls short in county budget

When budget time came around, the Benton County Sheriff's Department came up short. 
To cut costs, four of the county's five full time deputies got the boot, leaving a lot up in the air for those who count on their coverage.

Ashland, MS mayor Bill Stone says, "Certainly they'll suffer, when you reduce the force from having four or five men to having two, your response time is going to suffer."

The department also laid off three part time deputies, two part time jailers, and a part time dispatcher, because it can't afford them either.

The Sheriff wouldn't talk to me on camera, but a department spokesperson told me they just ran out of money.  They blame higher gas prices, deputy overtime and the rising cost of inmate care."

The town of Ashland, the county's largest, says it has plenty of money and plans to pick up the laid off deputies to keep up round the clock patrols.

Stone continues, "We're going to do what we feel is necessary to take care of the people inside the city limits of Ashland."

But those who live in the rest of Benton County aren't convinced what's left of the Sheriff's department can keep up.

Nellie Williams, who lives outside Ashland says, "You worry about people breaking in on you and you don't have nobody to call and it just worries me.  We need our deputies."

But you can't have them if there's no money to pay them.