Mahoning Sheriff's Department requests money to hire more deputi - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mahoning County Sheriff's Department requests money to hire more deputies

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Keeping criminals behind bars and off the streets takes money.

That is why the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department is requesting an additional $7-million for their budget next year.

In January of 2013 Jerry Greene will take over as the new sheriff in town and longtime Sheriff Randall Wellington, who is retiring, wants to help Greene get started on the right foot.

The two men sat side by side as they attended a Mahoning County budget hearing along with several other members of the sheriff department staff.

Sheriff Wellington requested $23.5-million dollars to fund the department next year.

That money would fully reopen the main jail, the misdemeanor facility, and hire and train new deputies.

Sheriff Wellington says, "Well we have a crime problem, especially in the city of Youngstown. We have to get these criminals off the streets."

The sheriff says they would need to hire 57 more deputies to operate the jail safely at full capacity.

In 2010, due to a recession induced budget crisis, a portion of the jail was closed and more than 50 deputies and staff were laid-off.

To this day, the jail is operating at the same level as it did during the recession, according to sheriff's department officials.

But the new sheriff plans to hit the ground running in January with some funding ideas of his own.

Sheriff-Elect Jerry Greene tells 21 News, "We're looking at talking with the U.S. Marshals again to house a few of their federal inmates to generate some additional revenue, and we're looking at assessing some fees on some different functions that the sheriff's department statutorily is allowed to do. One of those being sheriff sales, the foreclosure sales, generating revenue for booking fees for those newly arrested and newly sentenced inmates. Anything we can do to try and add more revenue to the fund we're going to do."

Commissioners say they understand the department's needs and share the concerns over public safety. But they're worried that with $62-million in spending requests from all county departments, and only $50-million available, it may not be possible to give the sheriff's department what it needs.

Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti says, "So like we do with every department, we're going to sit there and go through it item by item and do the best that we possibly can. But revenues are down from last year even though the sales tax is up, interest income is down and so is real estate."

The county is expected to pass a budget before the end of December.

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