Local News

Durham Sheriff's Office Feeling Pinch As Result Of State Budget Woes

Posted February 26, 2002

— The state is withholding $3.6 million in funding from Durham County. As a result, the Durham County Sheriff's Office is feeling the pinch. With many of its programs on hold, the Sheriff's Office has already been told to trim next year's budget.

Sheriff deputies patrol the streets, roam school hallways and run the county jail. But, Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill said his department is being stretched to the limit.

"We won't be able to prevent a lot of things we could have, had it not been for budget restraints," Hill said.

The budget cuts mean no travel and no training for officers, and it means new programs might not ever happen. Without the money to match it, they cannot apply for a grant to fight the gang problem.

"We were looking forward to putting more deputies on the gang problem we have in this community," Hill said. "It's really discouraging."

In the last year, deputies have really beefed up their presence in Durham neighborhoods, but Hill said any major crackdown in crime in the neighborhoods by his department will have to be put on the back burner.

With Operation Fresh Start, sheriff deputies tracked criminals, raided houses and checked IDs. Each two-day stint cost $10,000 in extra pay, but now overtime is not an option.

"You need to be in areas like that on a consistent basis to make headway. Hit and miss doesn't work," Hill said.


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