06/14/10 — Sheriff: Calypso won't lose protection

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Sheriff: Calypso won't lose protection

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on June 14, 2010 1:46 PM

CALYPSO -- A tight budget year sent Duplin County financial staff scrambling to find places to cut, and the Sheriff's Office substation in Calypso was one item unfunded in the proposed 2010-11 budget.

The town of Calypso and the Duplin County Sheriff's Office have an agreement providing a police protection plan for the town. The town pays $18,000 each year for the coverage and also pays for the office space and utilities required by the substation.

However, the county might choose not to provide funding this year for a deputy to be stationed in Calypso.

The salary and benefits for one deputy totals about $39,000 a year and vehicle and equipment costs are $36,000 a year.

A town official stated the town cannot afford the additional $20,000 it would cost to keep the deputy at the station without the county funding.

Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace is taking steps to make sure the town continues to receive law enforcement protection whether or not the county funds the deputy position. Wallace spoke to the Calypso town board last week, discussing possible ways to make that happen.

The town board voted to allow Wallace to pursue a Department of Justice policing grant that would help pay for the deputy position. However, if the grant is denied and the town cannot pay the additional funding, the people of Calypso will still be able to count on having deputies there, Wallace said.

The Sheriff's Office is in the process of moving the Duplin County gang task force to the substation. The two gang program deputies will work out of the substation in the future.

"Their hours vary. They're out at night. In actuality, we'll probably have more coverage with them," Wallace said.

The Sheriff's Office also plans to have a zone car prepared to answer calls in a larger area including Calypso.

The sheriff said he feels very strongly about making sure the Calypso substation, the first Duplin Sheriff's Office station to provide police protection for a town, serves people in the area in the future.

"We want to see it continue, and I feel certain that it will, hopefully," Wallace said.

There is also a possibility that the commissioners may choose to replace the funding before voting on the budget, and the sheriff plans to pursue that tactic, too.

"We're also going to ask the commissioners to return the funding to that line item," Wallace said.

The Duplin County commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed budget June 21.