CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Linn County Sheriff wants more deputies on duty. And Sheriff Brian Gardner made that request official on Monday going to the Linn County Board of Supervisors and asking for six more deputies.
An I-9 investigation last October found that Linn County Sheriff’s Office had paid out $5-million dollars in overtime in the last three years.
Right now, there are 122 sworn officers at the sheriff’s office. And Sheriff Gardner says deputies can only work 16 hours in a 24 hour period.
The sheriff’s request for additional fulltime staff came at a budget hearing where different Linn County departments make funding requests for the new fiscal year beginning July 1st.
The sheriff says he expects to hear about his request to increase staff by the end of the month.
Gardner says it’s difficult to predict how much overtime is needed every year due to the nature of law enforcement. But he told supervisors it’s gotten to the point it makes more sense now to add staff rather than to keep paying out so much overtime.
“That’s what we’re trying to say. We’re working so much forced overtime that it may not be healthy for people especially if it appears it’s going to be ongoing,” Gardner said.
The sheriff specifically requested three new deputies for the correctional center, one new transportation officer, a sergeant who would work out of the jail but also be available for patrol duties and one regular patrol deputy.
Gardner said the additions would add about $600,000 to the projected $22-million dollar sheriff’s budget.
But the net cost to the county would only be about half that amount due to eliminating a lot of the current overtime payments.