Facing potential budget cuts, Sheriff warns, “There’s nowhere to - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Facing potential budget cuts, Sheriff warns, “There’s nowhere to cut”

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SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -

The Spokane County commissioners have no choice but to make cuts to next years budget, and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says they should leave his department out of it.

“What that looks like is a cowards way of doing budgeting,” said Knezovich. “That’s what it is. You have to prioritize the budget and they’re failing to do that.”

The Sheriff has been asked to put together a proposal of what a seven-percent ($1.3 million) cut could look like.

“For roughly three-fourths of the geographic area of Spokane County, there will only be three deputies and that is a very large area.”

It’s an area the size of Delaware.

“If we don’t get enough deputies on the street then that response time gets pushed back even further,” said Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for Spokane County, Venus Delcambre-Morris. “I am married to a deputy and he is called all the time for overtime and it’s because they are understaffed.”

Currently, there are nine deputies who patrol the entire unincorporated areas of Spokane County (not in the City or Spokane, City of Spokane Valley, City of Airway Heights).

The total population for that area is more than 490,000.

Sheriff Knezovich says his deputy shortage has surpassed more than 100, and they have less than one deputy per 1,000 citizens.

The next Spokane County Budget hearing is Tuesday September 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners Hearing Room located at 1026 W Broadway Ave.

Both Sheriff Knezovich and the commissioners are asking the public to attend and weigh-in.

Knezovich is trying to avoid repeat cuts from 2008 to 2010 when the department lost 30 deputies.

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