One thing I have come to appreciate after completing my first year as Franklin County Sheriff is just how different a Sheriff Office operates from other police agencies.
The advice I received from a fellow long term County Sheriff was, “remember, you need to be billing every time one of your cruisers goes on the road.” As Sheriff, I get a lot of requests for service. The thing that did not come natural to me was asking, “who are we billing for the services requested?” When I worked as Trooper, I was paid by the state and when someone called for service in my patrol area, I responded. Today, if a deputy is not contracted to be working in an area and we get a call for service, I can’t send a deputy. I have to pay that deputy so someone has to be paying for that deputy. Sheriff’s Offices need to generate their own revenue and thus, every time you see a Sheriff’s cruiser on the road, someone is paying for that service. In the event a Sheriff’s Office doesn’t raise enough revenue, charge enough for providing a service, there is no place for the Sheriff to go to request additional operating funds. Operating funds, revenue, are generated by the services the Sheriff’s Office provides.
When the Sheriff’s Office contracts with a town for police services, the town pays for a deputy to work solely in that town for a specified number of hours per week. The Sheriff’s Office determines the hourly rate for the police contract that has to take into consideration the cost associated with the deputy performing that patrol. Some things considered are the deputies’ hourly pay rate, cost of benefits, cost of dispatching services, costs of annual training for the deputy, operating cost of the cruiser and replacement cost of a cruiser to name a few. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office does all it can to keep costs associated with patrols as cost effective as possible. With that being said, the Sheriff’s Office must remain competitive with other local police agencies in paying their employees and covering the ever increasing costs of benefits. If Sheriff’s Offices don’t offer competitive wages they will eventually lose employees to higher paying agencies.
Here are some of the other services that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office provides; service of civil process, state transports of inmates, transports for Department of Children and Families, transports for Department of Mental Health, contracted town police patrols, provide security for civil and criminal courts, event security (such June Dairy Days, Franklin County Field Days etc), traffic control at construction sites, Interstate escorts for required DMV permits, (3) School Resource Officer (SRO) Positions, Deputy position on the VT Drug Task Force.
In addition to having partnerships with all local, state and federal police agencies, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has also partnered with the VT ATV Sportsman’s Association (VASA) and provide police patrols on VASA trails during the summer months. The Sheriff’s Office has also partnered with VT Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) and provide snowmobile patrols on VAST trails throughout Franklin and Grand Isle Counties during the winter months. These partnerships have fostered strong community relationships while helping to keep those who use the trails safe. These patrols are funded through memberships in VASA and VAST.
I will continue to look for creative & productive ways to expand the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office while keeping an eye on costs. This was one of my campaign promises and I intend to keep it.
Franklin County Sheriff