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Bedford County Sheriff: 'Drastic' Need For More Deputies On The Streets

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Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 01:24:18-04

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – It’s budget number crunching time for a lot of counties across the mid-state, and the Bedford County Sheriff's Office said it's in desperate need of more deputies to patrol the streets. Now Sheriff Austin Swing has said he hopes county commissioners can find some wiggle room in their spending plan.

Even though most all departments in Bedford County have been asking for more resources in a troubling budget year, the Sheriff said more deputies were needed now more than ever.

That's because with a shortage of jailhouse staff, more on-duty deputies have been asked to transport psychiatric patients to facilities in Nashville or even Chattanooga, something that can leave other deputies shorthanded during that time -- often with only four deputies patrolling 500 miles of roads in the county.

The sheriff said while he knows other departments also have needs, he's hoping the county commission will allow him to hire at least some of the four new deputies he's requested. Because of budget constraints, he said so far, that request has gone unfulfilled.

“Our needs for deputies on the street are just drastic, there are times that we are dangerously low,” Swing said.

County commissioners would have until next Tuesday to make changes to the budget. If the budget wasn't passed by then, the County Commission would have to pass a continuing resolution to keep spending at current levels, until they can come to a new agreement.