Harrison police chief: More officers needed
The Harrison County Council completed its budget hearings for county offices last week and began the line-by-line process of budget determinations last night (Tuesday) and will continue tonight and next Tuesday and Wednesday.
The sheriff’s department requested the most new employees, asking for two additional road officers, a court officer and a receptionist.
Eric Fischer, police chief, said the county has added only one officer out of this budget since 1996. He said the calls for service have increased significantly in the county. Officers don’t have time to follow up on reports as it is, he said.
‘When you go from one report to another, you’re just a report-taker,’ he said.
Fischer also said overtime work is tough to avoid with officers, since they can’t just leave a crash or investigation when their shift is complete.
‘With the number of miles in the county and the way it’s grown, we don’t really have enough officers,’ Carolyn Creal, office manger for the sheriff’s department, said.
Fischer said the realization of the need is evident when an officer takes 45 minutes to arrive at the scene of a house request.
‘We don’t just drive around in our cars,’ he said.
Fischer explained that some of the officers are working two jobs and their pay is well below surrounding entities such as Georgetown ($38,000), Floyd County ($42,000) and New Albany ($42,000). Harrison County officers are paid between $33,157 and $35,391.
‘When you go to think about these raises, think about that,’ he said.
Auditor Pat Wolfe also asked for personnel help, requesting a part-time employee to be increased to full time and an increase in the part-time line item.
‘I need your help,’ she said. ‘You (council) and the commissioners are the only ones I can turn to. We are totally overwhelmed this year … If we’re going to keep the Auditor’s office running as efficiently as you’re used to, we’ll need more hands.’
Maintenance supervisor David Simon and animal control officer Bruce LaHue also asked for more help, citing increases in their workloads. Simon will be responsible for maintenance of the government complex buildings. LaHue said his calls for service have increased 27 percent over 2008.
The council will not adopt the budget until September.