Boyle Sheriff’s Office handling more cases with less overtime

Published 9:00 am Friday, August 11, 2017

The number of cases the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office is handling is on the rise, but the number of overtime hours logged by deputies is actually down in the last six months substantially.

From January to June this year, deputies have logged an estimated $17,000 less in overtime than compared to January-June 2016. Sheriff Derek Robbins said his department is on track to save about $25,000 in overtime costs by the time the year is over.

“That would be a goal to be around $25,000. But that’s not definite,” Robbins said. If someone got hurt, sick, or some other emergency happened, it could have a big impact on that number, he explained.

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As of the end of June this year, the sheriff’s office has spent approximately $30,900 on overtime costs. In the same time period last year, $47,900 was spent on overtime costs.

“A lot of our overtime comes from filling shift vacancies,” Robbins said. “It’s important to get time off, to get away from the job sometimes and spend time with your family.”

But the department has to pay those taking their vacation time, as well as those covering the empty shifts.

Sometimes, he said, extra deputies are needed for court or for special events, and it’s unavoidable to pay overtime.

“We haven’t had a lot this year,” he said.

In some cases, deputies have to extend their hours because of emergencies. Earlier this year, for example, a fatality accident meant more deputies needed to work more hours. Natural disasters and weather conditions can also dictate a need for extra law enforcement presence.

“You try to budget for what could happen, but you have to be conservative, too,” Robbins said.

This year, having a fairly light winter helped. But deputies had to put in extra hours earlier this year to tackle drugs, following several fatal overdoses. Some worked overtime trying to make buys and find those who were selling.

“It’s paid off … We haven’t had a fatal overdose in a while and I think some of that can be attributed to our guys,” Robbins said, explaining he thinks they caught several and scared off others who were selling fatal drug mixtures.

The county’s call volume has increased and is continuing to increase, said Robbins, who credited that to an increase in drug-related cases.

“Already this year, we’ve exceeded the number of felony cases than all of last year,” Robbins said. There have been 281 felony cases so far this year, compared to the 217 total felony cases in 2016.

Robbins said deputies have “bought in” and have “done a good job of cutting back on some of the overtime.”

Not that the work being done before wasn’t a necessity or that it isn’t still getting done, deputies are just more mindful of their time, Robbins said.

“I’ve got a really good group of guys here at the office,” Robbins said. “They’re going out, catching bad guys, but helping me operate within a budget.”

The Boyle County Sheriff’s Office uses special deputies to serve papers, transport prisoners and things like that, he said, which frees up deputies to be more proactive in tackling drugs. Robbins is quick to add they do not use special deputies to fill shift vacancies.

“I’m almost at the end of my first year. We’re doing the things we need to be doing to be effective. We’re operating within our budget — that’s important to me,” Robbins said. “I want to prove that not only are we able to operate from the law enforcement aspect, but that we’re able to operate from the management side, too. To show we’re capable in all aspects as a sheriffs office.”