By ADAM COATES
Coverage by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department isn't what the new sheriff would like it to be, so he is asking the county to allow the hiring of two more deputies.
Sheriff Steve Fenwick told the Putnam County Board of Commissioners Monday night that the new road deputies would each be paid salaries of $30,000 a year. The additional cost would be partially offset by several cuts that have been made in the sheriff's department budget since Fenwick took over.
As an example of the cuts, Chief Deputy Doug Nally said the department was paying a monthly phone bill of about $2,000. This month, they cut it down to about $800, he said.
While the three commissioners voted in favor of hiring the new deputies, they showed concern about the extra cost.
"My concern is adding cost when we don't know what budgets are going to do," Jim Baird said. "I'd hate to come back at mid-year … I'm just worried about the taxes and all."
Fenwick said he would try to cut as many costs from the budget and offset the deputies' salaries as possible.
"They're going to cost us money," he urged. "It's just for the coverage we need. There are a lot of problems in this world and it's here too."
Fenwick said the department currently has 14 full-time officers on staff, but this includes Fenwick himself and two investigators who spend most of their time investigating crime scenes. There are only two deputies on duty at night, he said.
"This is for the whole county," Kristina Warren said.
The County Council will have to approve the new deputies also. They meet at 7 p.m. tonight and for their annual budget hearings next Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the sheriff is also looking to eliminate unused vehicles from the department's fleet. On Monday, the commissioners approved selling four vehicles for $1 apiece: one to the city of Greencastle, one to DePauw and two to the Centerpoint Police Department.