News 12 at 6:00, June 27, 2007
AIKEN, S.C.--More money for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office could mean more protection for you. The Aiken County Council passed a $113 million budget at last night's meeting, and more than a million of that will go to the sheriff's department.
That means more deputies and patrol cars will be out on the road. And the more resources they have, the faster they can respond when you need them.
Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt the growing population means more emergency calls every day. And the more people the department has to respond to these calls, the faster they can get there.
"Our call volume is such now that there are a lot of days and nights when our deputies go from call to call to call," Sheriff Hunt said.
He says a bigger staff will give each deputy more time on patrol. And studies show that can cut down on crime. According to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, people are less likely to break the law when there's more officers on the streets making more arrests..
"With additional people it helps us to be more proactive, with higher visibility," Sheriff Hunt said.
He says that will help them fight property crimes, physical violence, and illegal drugs: "We want these drug dealers to know that we're getting more narcotic agents. So we're going to tighten down even more on folks dealing drugs in these neighborhoods."
And, they'll get to spend more time investigating all types of crimes. Right now, investigators get between 70 and 80 cases every day.
"By putting more investigators there, we think that will more evenly distribute the cases," Sheriff Hunt said.
Here's the breakdown of where the money will go: $780,000 thousand will go toward hiring 16 new people. $400,000 will go to new cars, and $575,000 will help them replace old ones. That's about 1.8 million dollars.
The Sheriff's Office gets the funding July 1st, and they plan to fill the new positions in a couple of months.