Sheriff's offices on tighter budgets

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Many police and sheriff's agencies are enforcing the law on leaner budgets during the economic crisis.

Sheriffs from all over North Carolina are talking about budget challenges and thinking outside the box this week in Wrightsville Beach.

"We need to look at the holidays that we're paid for and how many sick days we're getting. Just look at the 401K. You can go on and on and on," said Sheriff Steve Bizzell of Johnston County.

Sheriff Bunn of Bladen County noted that as the economy gets worse, crimes increase.  That means more work for him and his deputies with less money at their disposal.

Sheriff Bunn said law enforcement agencies will have to prioritize cases based on the threat to public safety.

"Everything is going to be in flux all of the time. Something else may drop in priority to put more time on those type of events," said Sheriff Bunn.

He also said his budget has already been cut five percent, so he's been applying for federal grants as a way to compensate for lost resources.

Most sheriffs haven't had their budgets finalized for the new fiscal year which begins July 1. They said they will know more specifics about what areas they will cut closer to that date.

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