03/12/04 — Eureka approves hiring deputies

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Eureka approves hiring deputies

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on March 12, 2004 2:04 PM

EUREKA -- The town board voted unanimously Thursday night to hire off-duty Wayne County sheriff deputies to patrol the town. The move follows several recent break-ins.

The deputies will be hired for a three-month trial period at a rate of $15 per hour.

The board plans to use the town's police car and purchase insurance for it at a rate of $800 per year. The county would cover the deputies under its insurance, said Commissioner Bobby Gooding.

Sheriff Carey Winders said he could take a look at the car to see what needs to be updated on it. The car does not have many miles on it and it should last another three or four years.

The deputies would have to work a minimum of three hours per shift, but Gooding suggested they work four. Their primary responsibility would be inside the town limits during the shift, and they would only leave if they received a distress call, added Gooding.

The town has $10,000 budgeted to spend on law enforcement, so it would not have to amend its budget to pay for it.

Commissioner Myrtie Sauls said hiring deputies to provide security for the town is the most important thing it could do.

"We need immediate security for our citizens," she said.

The idea of hiring law enforcement stemmed from several break-ins, including two break-ins of houses a few weeks ago. There have also been several break-ins of businesses.

Mayor Randy Bass had requested information from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office several months ago about providing primary law enforcement services.

The office replied in a letter, giving two options. The first was a temporary solution that would allow deputies to voluntarily work off-duty at a rate of $15 per hour. The other solution was entering into a contract with the town to provide primary law enforcement services. This would require a sheriff's substation within the town limits. Winders and other law enforcement officials have met with the board to discuss patrol options.

Now that the decision has been made to hire off-duty deputies, the next step will be setting up a staggered schedule for when the deputies will work. There may be more time added to the schedule in the future. They will start patrolling immediately, said Town Clerk Reta Chase.