The Plumas County Board of Supervisors authorized Sheriff Greg Hagwood to hire three deputies, and he planned to hire two of them within hours of their decision.
“We are going to be acting very quickly,” Hagwood told the supervisors during their Dec. 3 meeting.
The board earmarked $82,000 in the county’s contingency fund for this fiscal year, and discussed the $250,000 that would be needed for the next full fiscal year.
Supervisor Jon Kennedy said that he had studied the county’s budget and felt comfortable that it would allow for the three positions.
However, he didn’t feel comfortable with the rate of pay. “I hate to see a wage of $19.97 per hour,” he said. “That has to be a higher wage.”
The impetus to consider hiring more deputies came from Supervisor Lori Simpson. She first broached the topic during the board’s Nov. 12 meeting in the wake of a shooting in Portola and national coverage of a murder case.
During that same meeting Hagwood told the supervisors that he had four sergeants and 14 deputies available for patrol, with nine vacancies in the deputy ranks.
Historically the deputies worked out of substations in each of the outlying communities, but because of budget cutbacks, the county is now divided into Greenville and Chester, and Portola and Quincy. That often leaves areas of the county uncovered.
During the Dec. 3 meeting, Hagwood told the board that there had been a recent Friday when only one deputy was on duty in the entire county due to illness and a heavy court calendar.
But with the supervisors’ decision, those circumstances should cease.
“People in our communities can look forward to a noticeable improvement in the not-too-distant future,” Hagwood said. While he had individuals ready to sign contracts, they must complete the required training before they can be assigned to patrol.
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