With 1,259 calls for help in the month of July, the Logan County Sheriff’s Department is over-worked. According to Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker, his deputies are wearing out overtime because his department is understaffed. Not only does the sheriff want another deputy position added to his crew, he is having trouble keeping the ones he has, and finding it most difficult finding certified replacements.
“We are down one deputy who is out on sick leave. We have one in the academy and one waiting to go. And we have one retiring soon,” said Whittaker. “We only have nine road deputies available at this time, two detectives, one day-shift Captain, and two school resource officers.”
According to Whittaker, when you mix vacation and sick time with a low staffing, it causes problems. The sheriff said his deputies are working a lot of over time, which costs the county more. The sheriff said there are times when he only has one deputy to cover the entire county (unincorporated areas).
The sheriff has already asked for another deputy position from the fiscal court, however, his request was turned down. Members of the court felt there needed to be a bigger presence of the Kentucky State Police in Logan County. However, according to Whittaker, the one that is assigned to Logan doesn’t always stay in Logan, having to share his services with other counties.
“The State Police are short on staff as well,” said Whittaker. According to Ginger Lawrence, director of the county’s Emergency Communication Center, there are times she calls for the state’s help, but gets told they have no one to send that is in the area.
Whittaker spoke to the Logan County Fiscal Court again on Tuesday, Aug. 9 asking for help. He handed out July’s activity report showing the calls and what they were for. Along with the sheriff’s department responses, Whittaker handed out a report for Adairville, Auburn and Lewisburg. There were 32 calls that came for Adairville in the month of July, 50 for Auburn and 35 for Lewisburg.
Some of those the sheriff’s department responded to included: 182 attempts to serve, 19 domestics, 88 citizen assists, 4 for fireworks, 9 for harassment, 11 child custody disputes, 15 welfare checks, 10 juvenile offenses, 40 alarms, 1 child abuse, 8 burglaries, 38 reckless driving, 5 speeding, 22 suspicious vehicles, and 221 traffic stops.
In Adairville, some of the calls included: 1 prowler, 1 terroristic threatening, 1 traffic stop, 1 fraud, 1 loud music, 1 missing juvenile, 1 child abuse, and 1 drug incident.
In Auburn, some of the calls included: 3 automobile accidents, 2 suspicious persons, 1 theft of vehicle, 2 traffic stops, 1 animal incident, 1 shots fired, and one theft of property.
In Lewisburg, some of the calls included: 1 burglary, 4 suspicious persons, 1 traffic stop, 2 juvenile offences, 1 road hazard, 1 suicidal subject, 1 unresponsive patient, and 2 suspicious vehicles.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin believes the immediate problem is filling the positions that are already in place.
“You need to fill the ones you have and then we can talk about more if needed,” said Bouldin to Whittaker Tuesday. “Your problem now is filling what you have.”
Magistrate Dickie Carter took Tuesday’s discussion as an opportunity to talk about how bad the drug problems were in Logan County and how they were getting worse.
“Logan County needs at least two deputies on duty at all times in the county,” said Carter, who claims he voted for his suggestion officially at some point in his magisterial career. “I can’t find it in the minutes, but I know I did.” Carter went on to add that if he could not find his motion of such, he would make another one.
County attorney Joe Ross advised Carter the fiscal court could not by law tell an elected official how to run his department.
“You mean we can’t as a governing body tell elected officials what to do?” asked Carter of Ross. Ross responded, “You can make suggestions, but you can’t tell an elected official how to run their department.”
To contact Chris Cooepr, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.