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Sheriff’s Office layoffs put on hold

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) will not be forced to lay off any deputies for now, according to Deputy Scott Wilson, KCSO spokesman.

Wilson said the Kitsap County commissioners recommended all county departments, aside from the Sheriff’s Office, trim their budgets by 6 percent last week.

Wilson said a 6 percent cut to the department’s budget would have been a little more than $1 million, meaning 11 deputies would have been laid off, dropping the personnel strength down to 111.

Wilson said Kitsap County already has one of the lowest-staffed sheriff’s offices in the state, and possibly the nation, so a 6 percent budget cut would have been detrimental to the agency and, in turn, the public’s safety.

Cuts are not completely off the radar, but merely on hold for the time being, he explained. Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and his staff are busy applying for grant money to provide much-needed funds to the agency.

They should know later this year if they’ve received any grant money, but if they do not get the funding necessary, cuts will have to be made at that time.

“If the grants don’t come in, or they don’t come in in the amounts we’d like, we may have to make some cuts,” Wilson said. “Right now, we’re on hold.”

Boyer said last week the county has experienced a decreasing crime rate for years thanks to the men and women of the sheriff’s office and thought if deputies were let go, the crime rate could increase.

“My guys have had eight years of decreasing crime rates in Kitsap County because of good people and good work,” Boyer said. “Now is not the time to lay people off.”

Wilson said the Sheriff’s Office recognizes other county departments are being forced to cut 6 percent from their budgets, and knows it isn’t out of the woods just yet.

“We recognize the big sacrifice that other departments in the county are making,” he said. “There’s no lack of understanding on our part.”

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