It’s been a pricey year for the sheriff’s office, paying to protect the President during his frequent visits to Palm Beach County. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, that's not why Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is
asking for an extra $2 million in a supplemental budget request.
“The problem that we’ve had is between 2007 and today the amount of calls have absolutely gone up significantly, but it’s the same number of deputies,” said Bradshaw.
Bradshaw explained he needs to hire more deputies to keep up with the growing number of calls for service. Right now, Bradshaw says he has less than 1 deputy per 1,000 calls, which he says is far below the national norm and that impacts response time.
“It’s really very self-evident, that growth of Palm Beach County, number of people that live in the areas. If you go down 441 or you go out west on Southern Boulevard, you can see all the construction.”
The sheriff says more people means more calls for service. The way it stands, Bradshaw says his deputies can’t keep up pace unless his office matches the growth in population. He said he hasn't increased his number of deputies in a decade.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner agrees more deputies are needed and says it's a budget request he supports.
“I’ve served as a police officer and I’ve served on a shift that was understaffed. It’s not a comfortable feeling,” said Kerner. “It’s just as important to my constituents as it is to the actual deputy sheriffs themselves."
The county commission is expected to set the mileage rate sometime in July. Then, there will be two budget hearings sometime in September before the board takes a vote.