FANNIN CO., Texas - Heated arguments two days in a row over the 2015 budget in Fannin County prompted News 12 to take a closer look at the numbers. In the second of our two-part series, Daniella Rivera reports on how the proposed budget may affect law enforcement in Fannin County.
Former Fannin County Sheriff Deputy William Clifford Isaacs jr. awaits sentencing, after pleading guilty in federal court to charges saying he sexually assaulted female jail inmates.
"Nobody saw that coming," said Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter.
Isaacs worked as a transport deputy in 2012.
"The County bears some responsibility there," said Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser.
Isaacs' case was brought up during a budget dispute Tuesday. Glaser says Isaacs should never have been alone with those inmates.
Sheriff Donnie Foster says now, either a female officer or two male officers always transport female inmates.
"I don't think that has anything to do with what Mr. Isaacs did or didn't do," said Judge Carter, "there could be one of us or two of us, people do things that they shouldn't do."
Glaser disagrees, "If they had a woman transport deputy I can't imagine they would say 'ok, I'll go out and smoke a cigarette while you have sex.'"
"They need more employees, but we still haven't figured out where we can get the money from," said commissioner Stan Barker during a public hearing Tuesday.
While multiple cities in Fannin County are without police departments and chiefs, residents are concerned the County isn't offering high enough salaries to keep experienced deputies at the Sheriff's Office.
"Go out to the Sheriff's Office and talk to those deputies and see how they're making it on what they make," resident Pat Ward told commissioners.
Under the proposed 2015 budget, starting salary for a deputy is $30,697 per year. Compare that to the proposed *average starting salary for deputies in surrounding counties with higher populations: Grayson (estimated population 124,000), Cooke (40,000), and Lamar(50,000)--$41,277.
"We have 940 square miles, we've got three deputies on duty at any time. That is not enough, that is not very good coverage," said Glaser.
But commissioners say the money has to come from somewhere.
"People are strapped, they pay too much tax, we're not going to raise taxes here in Fannin County. As long as iIm the county judge, we're not going to do that," said Judge Carter.