Asotin Co. Commissioners may reject sheriff department's budget request

ASOTIN, WA - Leaders from the Asotin County Sheriff's Office are waiting to see if their budget request to county commissioners will be approved, but the commissioners have made it clear they don't think it will.

The Asotin County Sheriff's Office has the highest budget out of all of the county's departments. Sheriff Ken Bancroft has submitted budget requests totaling more than two-million dollars, which covers both the jail and the sheriff's office. This request is more than $525,000 more than 2013's budget, which would pay for things like overtime, wages, additional positions and maintenance.

During a public hearing for the county budget Monday commissioners made it clear they weren't pleased with the request.

"I just think this is ridiculous and that's really the only way I can describe it," said Brian Shinn. "We did offer him full-time positions and there's been no cooperation what so ever this last year. It's totally counter productive from what he's done before."

"Since he's an elected official he should be asking for the most amount of money for his office, but we've already gone through the budget process with him, about this issue," said Jim Fuller. "You live within your means. Everyone else out there, in their households, they have to. It's no different with us."

Sheriff Bancroft said he realizes he's been living well within his means, but he requested more money because it's crucial in keeping our community safe.

"We're short staffed as it is," said Bancroft. "It's a public safety issue and an officer safety issue, when it comes to getting extra people on the streets. It's important that we have the ability to respond to calls all hours of the day and night, not just during normal working hours, because crime doesn't take a break."

There's also a contract between the department of corrections and the county which hasn't been signed by the sheriff or the commissioners. It's a federal contract created to provide resources and funding to protect people from jail rape.

The sheriff said by signing the documents he's saying he has all the resources to do that. But he said without the extra funding he doesn't, and therefore won't sign it unless the commissioners approve his budget request.

County commissioners will make a decision on the budget next Monday.