Many Richmond Co. deputies also military reservists

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Since the September 11 attacks, 16 people employed at the Richmond County Sheriff's Department have been deployed overseas.

So what effect does a large number of people gone at one time have on the department and your safety?

More than 700 people work at the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Many of them also work in the military reserves. At any given time, they can be called to duty...leaving their job for who knows how long.

Critically injured in Iraq serving with the Navy reserves, Deputy Lindon Haworth is back on the job.

"I've got some scars pretty much anywhere you want to look," he says.

With months of recovery, and being away for two years from his transportation duties at the jail, some thought he'd seen his last days in any uniform.

"Well yes, even the med staff had a lot of doubts that I'd return to any type of functional life," Deputy Haworth says.

9/11 changed things at this sheriff's department. More people are being deployed.

Col. Gary Powell says this is the largest batch yet--16.

"Anytime you lose 16 at one time, that's a big impact, but we always seem to manage around that: work our specials operation units, move people, shift around," Col. Powell says. "We already have patrol beats covered, nobody is ever left with someone not in their area."

While deployments don't cause a big mess here at the Richmond Co. Sheriff's Department, a large number of resignations can. Last year, there were more than 90 vacancies here. Right now, there are 28.

"But when you have that many people resigning or moving to some other agency, plus your guardsman going out, that is a big effect on department and cuts back on a lot of special operations," Col. Powell says.

Cutbacks that don't mean jeopardizing your safety...just a sacrifice that even a man near death will say is worth it.

"I serve, it's what I do," Deputy Haworth says. "I served my country and I served it well and I served my community and I hope to serve it well."

Deputy Haworth is on the temporary disabled list.

There's a chance he could serve again, but it's unlikely.

Along with his injury, one other reservist has been killed, and two have resigned from the department since 9/11.