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McCracken Co. Sheriff: Manpower Shortage Is Crippling Department's Ability to Serve

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McCracken County Sheriff's Dept., via Facebook
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McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden is asking the county government for more support. He says manpower shortages are “crippling” his office’s ability to serve county residents.

Hayden made a budget presentation Wednesday before the McCracken County Fiscal Court that highlighted a dearth in funding compared to the Paducah Police Department. According to Hayden, funding PPD represents 24 percent of the city’s general fund, while only 9.3 percent of the county’s budget goes to the sheriff’s office.

"Within the past month, the department has lost three experienced, academy-trained officers to other area departments," Hayden said in a news release. "Within the next 12 to 18 months, at least 11 additional officers are looking to leave. With a current patrol schedule of six officers per shift, not counting their days off, that will effectively cripple our ability to answer calls, work accidents, investigate crimes, etc."

Chief deputy sheriff Mike Turnbow says the office can’t offer competitive packages for prospective deputies to fill those jobs. Turnbow said the office is already understaffed, with judicial processes in Paducah city limits taking up 40 percent of the deputies' day-to-day duties

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Credit McCracken County Sheriff's Department
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A slide from Sheriff Hayden's presentation

“If we strictly had to worry about the law enforcement end of it, that would be a tremendous relief to us, but we have the statutory duties of attending the courts, we have the statutory duties of serving court process," Hayden said.

PPD’s patrol division has 59 officers, while there are only 19 sheriff’s deputies on patrol. The sheriff’s presentation also stated that deputies have a more dangerous, heavier workload than PPD officers, but get paid $10,000 a year less on average.

Turnbow said the sheriff's office is hoping to be able to hire a total of six more deputies over the next couple years.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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