Kentucky Sheriff John Kirk of Martin County was forced to at least temporarily stop law enforcement services due to lack of funds. But he left instructions to his county residents:
“Folks, lock your door, load your guns, get you a barking, biting dog.”
The problem stems from the loss of coal revenue that is normally shared with local governments. A promised payment from the fiscal court did not arrive. The sheriff said that they’ve had to use borrowed tires (even plugged ones) on their vehicles, and other faulty equipment. Several other Kentucky counties are hurting from lack of funding as well.
The Herald-Leader reported a fiscal court meeting on Feb 8,
Kirk paced back and forth, complaining he had not yet received a $75,000 payment from the fiscal court that should have been delivered in January. In addition, Kirk said his office is now required to pay for its own workers’ compensation insurance, retirement, and social security benefits. Those obligations, along with unemployment insurance and fringe benefits, add an additional $99,000 to his annual expenditures.
As a result, Kirk announced Monday he has temporarily ceased all law enforcement services provided by his office. He also laid off the office bookkeeper and limited office hours to 8 a.m. through noon on weekdays.
Sheriff Kirk wasn’t joking around. The post on his Facebook page read in part:
“The state police will have to answer all complaints. We have several cases that we are current working on to get ready for the grand jury in the next month or so. I won’t have time to answer complaints as there are only two of us. Law enforcement as we have known for the last four years will not exist. I’m very sorry to tell you this but I want the fine folks of this county to know the truth. WE ARE BROKE…”
“We didn’t get this broke overnight and we won’t rebound overnight. Pray that the Lord will lead us and guide us through this terrible time.If the county could have given us $12,500 per month until July we wouldn’t have to make this drastic of a cut right now. I have tried to have volunteer deputies from all areas of the county so that we could respond quicker when we get calls. Therefore it takes a few more cruisers that has to be on the insurance. I have worked 16 to 18 hours a day myself to try to serve you, But I too must sleep a few hours. The law requires the Sheriff to collect taxes, Bailiff court and serve papers. We have always provided police protection but without the funding we can no longer do this. I’m very sorry and I apologize to the employees and to the citizens of our county. I am truly sorry.”
The Sheriff expressed his concern for his county residents, but said he had no choice but to do something.
“I will have to move my only other deputy to day shift and that will leave no protection on nights. I’m sure the thieves and drug dealers will have a ball.” Sheriff Kirk
Unless the residents lock their doors, load their guns, and get themselves a barking, biting dog. Good advice, Sheriff.
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