MCSO 2018 Budget Narrative sent to BOCC
To: Mason County Board of County Commissioners
From: Sheriff Casey Salisbury
RE: 2018 Budget Narrative
2018 Budget Narrative
Mason County Sheriff’s Office Mission Statement
“The Mason County Sheriff’s Office will be leaders in our community by providing the best law enforcement services possible.”
Background and Recommendation
On September 26, 2017, the Mason County Board of County Commissioners requested that the elected officials provide a narrative which describes how a 10.2% reduction to the 2018 budget will impact their offices. Per the budget instructions dated September 18, 2017, the MCSO was instructed to cut $929,185 from the patrol division and $340,190 from Care and Custody. In accordance with this request Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury would like to submit this document to explain the possible impacts of the proposed budget cut. Prior to discussing the potentially devastating effects of a 10.2% budget reduction, however, we must again express our belief that a more thoughtful, deliberative process would achieve the financial goals of the BOCC without irresponsibly stripping public safety. Our recommendations are as follows:
- Please consider exercising all legislative and strategic decision options at your disposal.
- Increase the Traffic Diversion to reflect the offices time and effort capabilities. This would include the use of alternative sentencing litter crew hours and assist in the county contribution to the DOE grant. This also addresses replacement patrol cars that are out of industry standards.
- Consider a levy shift, a means to offset the cost to the city could be the annual inmate costs per the existing contract.
- Establish a strategic five year plan to accomplish the best practice (not a legal requirement) for a three month reserve. This will allow departments and offices to deliberately plan for and align internal goal, objectives, and mission to that end.
- In keeping with the established practice of recruiting and retaining a quality workforce and negotiating with bargaining units honor those contracts the BOCC agreed to with its employee’s. Establishing and maintaining trust and confidence is a critical component to recruiting and retaining a highly trained workforce in a competitive profession.
Budget Reduction Scenario
Due to the size and complexity of the MCSO, this document only describes one of many possible permutations of how the proposed budget cuts could be achieved. This document is in no way intended to limit Sheriff’s Salisbury’s discretion in executing his bottom-line budget as he sees fit.
Patrol 2018 Goals:
- Reduce, solve, and prevent crime.
- Improve quality of life issues.
- Develop and retain a quality workforce.
Potential impacts of 10.2% cuts:
- Eliminate 10 Deputy Positions – $927,334: Deep cuts to the patrol operational budget were already made in July of 2017 in order to make the required mid-year budget reduction of 7.3%. Not only were deep cuts made in the operational budget, but 9 unfilled positions were defunded and 2 deputies were laid off. Because of those reductions which were already made, little is available to eliminate other than currently filled deputy positions.
- Loss of New 4-11 Schedule: At the beginning of 2017 the Patrol Division incorporated a new shift that only became possible when we had reached an adequate number of patrol personnel. An evaluation of our overtime and comp-time in August showed that the new schedule had resulted in a reduction of overtime hours (based on a comparison with 2016) of 2,300 hours. We estimate that the 4-11 schedule will reduce overtime hours in 2017 by nearly 3,000 hours. A loss of the 4-11 schedule in patrol would result in a reversion to a 5-8 schedule, a consequence of which would be a requirement to return to 2016 levels of overtime use to handle the increased workload on the individual officers.
- Loss of Incorporated Training Days: Law enforcement must meet minimum training hours each year in order for officers to maintain certification. The 4-11 schedule has training days built in which allows us to meet minimum training standards without incurring overtime. A reversion to a 5-8 schedule would also result in a loss of in-service training and require all training to be conducted on overtime. The current schedule allows the MCSO to conduct nearly 3,500 total hours of in-service training with little to no overtime required; those hours would either not be conducted (thus resulting in a loss of certification) or be conducted on overtime.
- Loss of Specially Trained Personnel: Of the 10 deputies who are lowest in seniority, 4 are assigned to SWAT, 2 assigned to SORT (Special Operations Rescue Team), 1 K9 deputy, and 1 firearms instructor. The MCSO would lose a vast amount of expertise and skill in which our county has already invested.
- Disbandment of SWAT and SORT: Due to the loss of personnel and the change in schedule, a contraction of services will be required. The MCSO would not be able to maintain a Special Weapons and Tactics Team or the Special Operations Rescue Team. SWAT provides specialty services to handle highly dangerous and complex problems which are beyond the capability of the average patrol deputies. The SORT unit is a fast response rescue team which specializes in high angle and swift water rescues; rescues in which seconds are the difference between life and death. Both SWAT and SORT are multi-jurisdictional teams which have members from numerous partner agencies. The loss of these teams would not just impact the MCSO but all the other LE agencies in Mason County.
- Decreased Officer Safety and Response Times: A drastic reduction in the number of deputies working patrol will decrease the back-up which is available. Deputies must respond to calls for service in adequate numbers to handle the call safely. If there are fewer deputies responding to calls, response times to calls for service will naturally increase. Increased response times results in decreased safety for the citizens of Mason County.
- Reduction in Marine Enforcement Activities: Marine Enforcement response will necessarily be limited to in-progress calls for service and other limited duties which fulfill the requirements of our boating grants. Proactive patrols would be greatly reduced or eliminated due to a lack of funds which, until now, have been paid out of the patrol budget.
- Drastic Cutbacks to Detective Division: In order to reduce the damage to the patrol division the MCSO would need to greatly alter the composition of the detective unit. The Pro-Act Unit, which proactively pursues property crime and narcotics investigations, would need to be disbanded in order to move those detectives to patrol. Additionally, a full-time detective and a rotational detective would also be moved to patrol. These reductions in the detective unit would require a cutback in the number and types of cases investigated. Detectives would no longer investigate property crimes or any misdemeanors, meaning only felony crimes against persons would get the follow-up of a trained detective.
- IT Deputy Moved Back to Patrol: The MCSO has a significant number of highly specialized technical needs that must be met in order to maintain operations. The MCSO has been told on numerous occasions that the county IT department does not come close to having the expertise in our programs needed to keep our department running. Consequently, we have used a highly trained deputy to maintain the bulk of our IT needs. The proposed budget cuts would necessitate moving the IT deputy back to patrol and all the in-house IT needs would be thrust upon county IT. Significant cost, training, and time would be required to get the county IT department to a level of expertise necessary to meet MCSO’s IT needs.
- Loss of School Resource Deputy: Again, significant cuts to the budget will necessitate a major contraction in services. Despite the significant need to have law enforcement services present in the school, the newly appointed SRO would need to be pulled from the schools and reassigned to patrol duties. The loss of the SRO will have a significant impact on our partners in the various school districts in Mason County.
- Loss of Nationally Recognized Animal Control Services: Due to the budget cuts already experienced in 2017, the Evidence Officer position, which we were desperately trying to fill, was eliminated. Consequently, we’ve had a fully commissioned detective filling the evidence officer position, but that detective’s skills will be required in the detective division. In order to meet the workload required in the evidence custodian position, the Animal Control position would be moved to Evidence Custodian. All animal control complaints would be referred to the patrol division, but due to the reduction of deputies there would be a reduction in animal complaints to which the deputies respond. Only criminal animal complaints would be investigated, while all non-criminal nuisance complaints would go unanswered.
- Reduction in LE Partnerships: The MCSO relies on our strong partnerships with other agencies and organizations. In return for the efforts that other organizations assume on behalf of the MCSO there is an expectation that we will reciprocate. Our multi-jurisdictional narcotics and property crimes team (which is staffed by multiple agencies) would be eliminated; consequently, our partnerships with those agencies would be greatly curtailed. Mason County would lose the benefit of strong partnerships that have been forged with Squaxin Island Police, Shelton Police Department, Skokomish Police, Washington State Patrol, Department of Corrections, to name just a few. The loss of partnerships would be a loss to the MCSO and a loss to the citizens of Mason County.
Care and Custody
In support of the MCSO Mission, the Corrections Division will “together; maintain custody, security, and control of inmates, in a safe, efficient, and constitutional manner.”
Care and Custody 2018 Goals:
- If the Alternative Sentencing program survives the cuts, increase the average daily population from 3 to 20. This would result in estimated $500,000 annual bed savings. Would need cooperation from District Court.
- Lower the daily bed rate by looking at efficiencies in the Corrections Division.
- Maintain a safe and constitutional environment for our staff and Inmates.
- Restrict access to the facility to non-governmental employees without security clearance.
- Reduce Overtime expenses by change in staff schedules.
- Increase training time for staff without additional expense.
- Reduce extraordinary inmate medical expenses by conforming to Washington state legislative authority related to inmate medical financial responsibility.
Description of Problem:
As you know, the jails BOCC approved 2017 budget was 4.9 million. In July 2017 we were directed to cut 7.5 percent. After significant efficiency savings we were able to cut $530,000, or (10.8%) from the jail’s 2017 budget.
More cuts will significantly impact our ability to meet our mission. The remaining cuts to total the BOCC mandated 17.5% for 2018 leave us with having to reduce the jail’s budget by $340,190 (7%). This $340,000 does not include the BOCC negotiated $120,000 in staff personnel increases scheduled for 2018. BOCC has demanded these Union negotiated raises be absorbed in our existing budget. Total budget reduction for the jail in 2018 is, $460,000.
Potential Impacts of 10.2% Cuts – Option #1:
- Staff Reductions- We have already cut 15% of our jail custody staff in 2017, which resulted in proportionate reductions in the average daily inmate population. The population cap was reduced from 94-80. Additional cuts of $460,000 could result in the reduction of another 6 Corrections Deputies, a 23% staff reduction. This 23% will result in the inmate population cap being lowered proportionately, from 80 to 62. This lower population cap will directly impact public safety by prohibiting even less people from being booked into the facility.
- Reduced Population: A reduced population cap will impact our ability to house non-county prisoners. The contract with the City of Shelton to house 7 prisoners per day would have to be eliminated to make space for county prisoners.
- Contract Elimination: The elimination of the City contract will also eliminate $250,000 in the jail’s annual revenue.
Potential Impacts of 10.2% Cuts – Option #2:
- Closure of the Alternative Sentencing program: This would close the 18 beds and eliminate the staffing necessary to supervise the area the litter programs. There have been roughly 10 inmates daily living in the AS area. Those 10 inmates would have to be absorbed into the 80 general population beds (jail population cap from the last round of cuts).
- Contract Elimination: This would also result in the cancellation of the Shelton City prisoner contract to free up bed space for the 10 AS inmates. This would result in an additional $250,000 loss of revenue.
- Litter Crew Elimination: The litter crew would be cancelled resulting in community roadways once again littered with garbage. The partial grant funding we received from the Department of Ecology would have to be reimbursed jeopardizing the likelihood of future grant awards.
In support of the MCSO mission, the Civil Division strives to provide the highest level of public service through professional customer service and the timely and lawful process of civils and public disclosure requests as legally required by Revised Code of Washington and Washington Administrative Code.
Administration 2018 Goals
- Continued improvement of internal systems through use of technological advances and increased efficiencies
- Increase staff satisfaction and engagement through training, support, and supervision
Potential Impacts of 10.2% Cuts
Any further cut to personnel within the administrative division is unacceptable due to the liability risk it poses to Mason County and the MCSO. Cuts from the 2017 budget left 3 of our 12 administrative positions unfilled. Due to the liabilities associated with the civil process, public disclosure, and maintenance of MCSO records, any further cuts will result in unacceptably high levels of liability. In addition, the MCSO is now left using volunteers to supplant our work force instead of appropriately augmenting our operations with paid staff. Should our volunteer staff be impacted in any way, the MCSO would no longer be able to maintain a North Precinct.
Public safety and criminal justice in Mason County have made significant and positive gains in the past decade. The strategies and implementation of programs over the years have made this community a desirable area to locate. However, if the county continues on the preventable and self-destructive course it will take a minimum of another decade or longer to restore. The desire to achieve a best practice recommendation of a healthy fiscal reserve is a responsible goal. Any attempt to accomplish this in a 6-month window with a 17% reduction is neither responsible nor wise and moreover is completely avoidable.
We outlined reasonable, attainable, and proven strategies utilized by other counties to move towards a healthy reserve. Making cuts this deep in a 6-month window will result in the utter decimation of public safety, criminal justice and county services to the citizens. If the BOCC and other county leadership does not inspire trust and confidence in its decision making through a calm, deliberate, and well thought strategy then we will have tossed aside all the significant gains made in recent years. The end result will be no confidence in leadership and the ability to recover is significantly diminished for years to come.
Sheriff Casey Salisbury and the employees of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office
Download a Copy Here: 2018 MCSO Budget Narrative