When it comes to public safety, many people rely on their local sheriff department. However, after drastic budget cuts decimated one sheriff’s department, the sheriff is recommending that all residents “lock your doors, load your guns and get a biting, barking dog” to keep themselves protected after they were forced to suspend policing activity in the county.
John Kirk, the sheriff in Martin County, Kentucky, posted his recommendation after his office was forced to suspend policing activity in the county due to a lack of fund.
According to The Hill, the department is owed “a $75,000 payment from last month” that has not yet been received, devastating the sheriff’s office’s budget.
“The last Fiscal court promised 75 thousand dollars to the Sheriffs office that was supposed to be given last month and we didn’t receive one penny,” said Kirk in a Facebook post. “We begin the new year with no money and rely on the fiscal court to help us. The current court says they are broke and even in debt very badly and can’t give us money. I have always tried to manage your tax dollars wisely. But if you don’t have any money you can’t manage it.”
Kirk stated that the sheriff’s office bookkeeper was let go and that office hours will be reduced to 20 hours per week.
“I have been your Sheriff for over four years now. It has been a struggle to try to keep 24 hour protection for you and your family,” said Kirk. “I have had to operate the last little bit with just myself and one other paid deputy.”
“I’m very sorry to tell you this but I want the fine folks of this county to know the truth. WE ARE BROKE.’”
“I will have to move my only other deputy to day shift and that will leave no protection on nights. Im sure the thieves and drug dealers will have a ball,” Kirk wrote.
He closed his post with a simple recommendation: “FOLKS, LOCK YOUR DOORS, LOAD YOUR GUNS AND GET YOU A BARKING, BITING DOG. If the Sheriffs office can’t protect you, WHO WILL ? Folks, Come to the court meetings so that you know what is going on. Special court meeting tomorrow I believe around 1pm. Call the office to be sure.”
The lack of funding is reportedly due to a decline in coal severance taxes. Other counties nearby have also experienced financial difficulties, and some have been forced to deal with the shortfalls with partial county government shutdowns and reductions in services.
In the interim, the Kentucky State Police will respond to calls in areas of Martin County that do not have their own local police force.
“We’re going to respond as we always have,” said William Perry, a spokesman for the state police.