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No New Deputies For The Houston County Sheriff's Department

It's good and bad news for the Houston County Sheriff's Office.

Although the county has an increased budget, the Sheriff's Department is calling for more deputies they won't be awarded this year.

It's something Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes says he's dealt with in the past.

"We have hired some part time deputies who are retired law enforcement officers that serve civil papers and subpenas or either work in courthouse security but as far as full time deputies that are out here working on the road everyday or conducting investigations we have had no full time positions in 7 years, " says Hughes.

And it looks like the department will go into its eighth year without those positions.

"They're doing a good job with what they have. All of our employees are working as hard as they can to provide the services to our citizens and unfortunately this year they have to do it with the same number of people, " says Chairman of the Houston County Commission, Mark Culver.

Hughes says although Houston County officials have increased the department's 2014 budget, additional costs next year will off-set that bonus.

"We did get 4 new vehicles this year, I requested 8 new vehicles, we only received 4 in the budget this year, we put a lot of miles on our vehicles trying to cover 600 square miles in this county, going from call to call. We need more than that our fleet is aging, a lot of miles on them, a lot of maintenance issues, " says Hughes.

Although Houston County Commissioners say they would like to add additional deputies to the Sheriff's Department, the years budget just won't allow them to do so.

"Honestly I think the Sheriff needs about 80 new employees to really do what he needs to as far as patrol but we can only do what we have funds to do, " says Culver.

Hughes says he plans to make ends meet with the budget he's given.

Hughes wants Houston County residents to know the department is in good-standing and deputies are well equipped in training to handle any situation.

Commissioners say they'll conduct a personnel study to make sure all employees are getting paid appropriately, before hiring additional workers.


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