Pushmataha County sheriff's office facing more cutbacks

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ANTLERS, Okla. (KXII) -- The Pushmataha County Sheriff's Office is facing a new financial problem: insurance.

Their insurance went up to $27,000 a year due to prior lawsuits.

The sheriff's office is given about $21,000 to $24,000 a month.

Their payroll is $25,000 a month.

This has resulted in Sheriff B.J. Hedgecock making some cutbacks.

"I've had to cut down on patrols, I've had to reduce everything to bare minimal," Hedgecock said. "We're going to everyone's calls and trying to give it a hundred percent, but I just don't have funding to do what the county needs to provide it with the proper law enforcement that it needs for the amount of crime that we have."

Patrols have been restricted to only patrolling high crime areas and some officers have moved to a reserve role.

They will also be auctioning items off this week to add revenue.

Hedgecock said he is hoping to keep his staff at full strength.

"I would hate to lose an personnel because I believe I've come a long way within the year I've been in office," Hedgecock said. "I've accumulated a lot of stuff and I don't want to take a back step."

With the county's tax base falling from a lack of businesses in the county, the sheriff says it's time for a change.

"It's just time for Pushmataha County to grow," Hedgecock said. "It's a rural and nice area, but it's time to have some kind of something that pays taxes because the county government has to function and the only way county government functions is off tax base."

Hedgecock says the sheriff's office will continue to do their jobs and protect the county.

"I knew when I was elected that I was going to come in to a financial bind and I've come a long ways," Hedgecock said. "I will continue to do as I promised when I was elected. I will answer calls myself. They will be taken care of."

Hedgecock says he is working on trying to get extra help from other agencies to help offset their financial problems.

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