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High gas prices impacting local law enforcement

Gas prices are impacting law enforcement budgets.
Gas prices are impacting law enforcement budgets.(WBRC)
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Most drivers are feeling some pain at the pump, but those with vehicle fleets are seeing impacts as well.

Whether gas prices are low or high, it can’t prevent law enforcement officers from their duties. Generally, they still have to hop in their vehicle and drive to the crime in order to fight it.

“That’s the thing about what we do,” said Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon. “When a call comes in, we’ve got to go and we’ve got no other way to go but to drive to your house.”

It’s a job always on the move and when gas prices spike, it can hit law enforcement hard.

“They’ve definitely impacted our budget,” said Sheriff Shearon. “There’s no doubt about that. Gas has over doubled at one time so I mean, it’s hurt us.”

Even if fuel prices rise, crime doesn’t fall so while they continue to work, deputies are staying mindful.

“We just try to cut down on any unnecessary driving that we have to do,” he added. “If it’s something that can be handled by phone call, we try to handle it on the phone.”

The Etowah County Sheriff’s Office is also remaining careful with the high prices at the pump.

“We have implemented and just reminded our policy,” said Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton. “We have take home vehicles here, but they’re for official use only and those nature of things. Anything we can do to save fuel and not waste fuel.”

Sheriff Horton says every year they budget between $260,000-$270,000 for fuel.

A few weeks ago when he checked, they were within the 40th percentile of the budget.

“We were still about two to three percent under budget with the appropriate amount of the budget left,” said the sheriff.

Both sheriffs who spoke with WBRC say they’ll figure it out because nothing will stop them from keeping their communities safe.

“No matter the gas prices, we’re still going to answer calls and we’re still going to proactively patrol the rural areas of the county,” said Sheriff Horton.

“We’ve got to respond regardless,” said Sheriff Shearon. He adds that the Chilton County Commission has already started talking about gas impacts on both, them and the road department, saying they are going to try and help with the budget.

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