Sheriff: OT up 4.6% on year

An increase of 4.6 percent in overtime pay to Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department employees is being forecast for this year.

It’s estimated the department will spend $186,201 in overtime pay by the end of this year, up from $178,071 spent last year.

“And that just if nothing else unexpected happens,” Sheriff Matt Myers said.

On Tuesday, the Bartholomew County Council agreed to provide an additional appropriation of $31,000 for the sheriff’s enforcement division. That includes an $11,000 federal reimbursement to the sheriff’s department placed back into the county’s general fund.

While factors such as vacations can be figured into planning, other developments could not have been foreseen last fall when the original 2017 budget was passed, Myers said.

For example, four injured deputies are either recuperating at home or confined to light duty, he said.

In addition, the department has three recently-hired deputies undergoing year-long field training, while a fourth is attending the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, the sheriff said.

Two detectives earned overtime working large-profile cases that required extra hours, he said.

Other unforeseen factors include security details for visiting government officials, mandatory training requirements and an increase in call volume, he said.

Due largely to the ongoing drug problem, there are far more risky situations that deputies are dealing with that require more manpower, Myers said.

Next year, an additional deputy will be hired and the injured officers should be back full time, the sheriff said.

But while he’s hopeful reductions in overtime pay can be achieved, Myers emphasized he can’t make guarantees.

“There is always someone about to retire, new injuries, resignations — a lot of variables I can’t control,” Myers said.

Myers reaffirmed his pledge not to cut the current level of patrols no reduce hours for narcotic investigations.

An additional $35,000 also was appropriated Tuesday by the council to purchase food for jail inmates.

The jail population has grown significantly, but the $225,000 appropriated for food in 2017 has not changed in three years, Myers said.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.