AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Travis County Sheriff’s Department is requesting $3.3 million from the county to increase their department staff by 37. More than 20 of those will be deputies that will help on the streets.
According to the department, the FY 2017 Preliminary Budget increased by $7,412,780. They say the majority of the change was from an increase to the personnel budget as a part of efforts to reduce overtime costs and prepare for anticipated increases to the average daily population for inmates under the supervision of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton along with department leaders took to commissioner’s court Thursday afternoon to describe their request.
“We don’t take the ask lightly, we have challenged ourselves with this review,” said Travis County Sheriff Major William Poole.
The positions range from 911 call operators all the way to detectives and deputies. Major Poole says staffing for the department has been tight for some time, and as Travis County grows the need for more deputies on the street becomes even more dire.
“As you all know, it’s hard to drive anywhere in Travis County and find just a rural area anymore, so with those needs you have to match it with staffing,” said Poole.
Major Poole says 37 additional staff members won’t be the answer to all of the departments needs but will be a significant step in the right direction with providing deputies the proper backup when responding to emergency situations.
“The sheriff’s office has historically been staffed for one crisis at a time. I am blessed to have lived this long in this community that that has got us by. Unfortunately that is not the day and time that we are in now,” said Poole.
Poole adds that with more deputies on the streets, it will allow the deputies to make more controlled decisions and not feel as if they are outnumbered.
There will be continued hearings moving forward to determine how much money will be allocated to the department. A final decision will be made by October 1.