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Durham schools could lose officers to cuts

Posted March 6, 2009

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— Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill said Friday that school resource officers might become a casualty of budget cuts next year.

County Manager Mike Ruffin has asked departments to look for ways to reduce spending by up to 10 percent in the fiscal year that starts July 1. Hill said that would lead to layoffs for 40 to 45 deputies, including those who keep tabs on local middle and high schools.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill Sheriff: Cuts could cost 40 deputies

"I really see it as a catastrophe for the community," Hill said.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office pays for 14 of the 19 school resource officers, with Durham Public Schools picking up the tab for the other five.

Fred Blanks and Tammie Holloway-Raines, parents of Hillside High School students, said local schools can't afford to lose their resource officers.

"That would be a big mistake. We need them, and we need them bad," Blanks said.

"They are needed, and until they put prayer and discipline back into the schools, you are going to have to have all the police officers there you can get," Holloway-Raines said.

Hill said his department has already has cut back on training, travel and washing patrol cars to save money. But he said operational savings cover only one-third of the $3 million he would need to cut to reach Ruffin's 10 percent target.

Losing dozens of deputies would return the department to 1997 staffing levels and could also affect units that deal with gangs, domestic violence, drug investigations and reducing the backlog of unserved warrants, Hill said.

Michael Page, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said it's unlikely the board would cut so many deputies.

"That would be probably one of the last items that we would probably look at, in my opinion," Page said.

Commissioners are getting feedback about potential cuts across the county, he said.

"We are at the very beginning of the process. No real decisions have been made at this point," Page said.


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  • 68_polara Mar 9, 2009

    We have traded government's essential responsibilities for social spending over the years in every level of government. Only true conservative leadership could fix this but we don't have the stomach for it any way. I think at this point were just domed.

  • starglow2005 Mar 6, 2009

    Back when I went to school, the dean had a paddle and there was no such thing as a school resource officer. Why should the police have to be at the schools every day to keep little Johnny in line? Where is the parental responsibility for their own child's behavior while in school?

    As for washing the police cars, why not make that task available for people required to perform community service as
    part of their court sentence? How much does it cost for water, soap, and a bucket?

    Government administrators need to start thinking outside the box. I keep hearing a lot of what "Might", "Maybe", "Probably", "Could" happen with no real facts or figures to back up their fear mongering tactics. It's time for administrators to earn their high salaries putting their "higher education" to good use and start looking for real solutions that make the best of what they have to work with. As my boss always says when people complain, "Don't bring me problems.... bring me solutions!"

  • 2headstrong Mar 6, 2009

    Law enforcement is NOT the place to be making cuts when times get this hard. Increases in breakins, robberies, etc., will have the deputies hopping, and making them shorthanded on top of that will not help the situation.

  • mrduffin Mar 6, 2009

    If Durham Public Schools got rid of six Assistant Superintendents they would have the $1 million dollars needed to keep the deputies in the schools! But that will never happen because they are all buddies who will look after each other.

  • tmsfits Mar 6, 2009

    Yep...that's all they need is a little prayer in the schools to fix everything. I think i find mindsets like that more firghtening than the thought of losing all the sheriffs.