Sheriff: Job cuts could have "adverse effect on public safety" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Sheriff: Job cuts could have "adverse effect on public safety"

By Jamel Major - bio | email

Nearly half of Shelby County's proposed layoffs could come from the sheriff's department.

The cuts could impact how the department serves and protects the community. 

Like many county residents, Jancy Baudoin is concerned about the layoffs.

"If our sheriff's department has to cut jobs, we won't have much patrol or things we need for crime," she said. "I know just in our neighborhood we've had incidents, so it's a sad thing."

Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton unveiled a series of proposed budget cuts and layoffs. 

Under the proposal, 100 employees would be out of a job, including 49 employees in the sheriff's office and 19 in the mayor's administration.

"We have an adequate number of staff now to do our job, but to take any cuts, I think it will certainly have an adverse effect on public safety," said Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell.
 
But Jim Huntzicker, chief administrative and financial officer for Shelby County, says the county is dealing with a $24 million deficit. He says the cuts are necessary to help balance the budget without a tax increase.

"70 percent of our expenditures are in personnel, so when you're looking for big dollars to correct your budget problems, you have to go where the money is," he said. "And unfortunately, that is personnel, so that brought us to the subject of layoffs."

The proposal isn't sitting well with those concerned about fighting crime and maintaining the county's jail.

"Certainly having enough officers to patrol the areas of the county, we have responsibility for," Luttrell said. "As more and more people move into the county outside the City of Memphis, our responsibilities pick up."

The proposed layoffs would save the county about $5.5 million. 
   
If the proposal is approved, it will likely be implemented by May.

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