The Pasco Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services at a cost that is much less than any of the largest 13 agencies (see Figure 3)! These top largest agencies provide services at an average of $305 per person in their jurisdiction. The Pasco Sheriff's Office currently provides its law enforcement services at a rock-bottom $144 per person (includes Penny for Pasco tax). If the county commission approved Sheriff White's entire 2007-08 requested budget, that amount would still only rise to be less than $157 per person (including the Penny for Pasco tax), about half of the state average for law enforcement services!
The Pasco Sheriff's Office has not grown at a pace equal to our county's growth (See Figures 4, 5, and 6). Sheriff White believes that the agency that provides the majority of the county's law enforcement services and all of the county's detention services should not be left behind in funding.
During his budget request presentation, Sheriff White also explained the efficiency of the agency's detention services, which is actually a county responsibility that the Pasco Sheriff's Office has agreed to provide. Again, the Pasco Sheriff Office is near the bottom when it comes to the cost per citizen in providing these detention services for the county. The average cost for the surrounding nine counties in the Tampa Bay area is about $87 per citizen. The Pasco Sheriff's Office provides its detention services at a cost of $67 per citizen, even lower than some local private companies provide detention services for other county governments.
What was in the Sheriff's original budget request?
About 3.2 percent of the Sheriff's original budget request included funding for 109 new positions that are needed in a different units throughout the agency. This number includes 39 positions that were cut from last year's budget request. Some of these new positions include 24 road patrol deputies; three detectives and one detective sergeant; 11 detention deputies; four bailiffs; one school resource officer sergeant and four school resource officers; three forensic investigators; one property evidence specialist; five part-time civilian school traffic control officers; 10 part-time civilian school crossing guards; three jail nurses; and six communications officers.
Last year (2006-2007 budget request), county administrators told Sheriff White that he would need to cut his budget because of limited tax funds. However, when the final county budget was approved, the county increased its fund balance (revenue) by $3.3 million, no other county agency had its budget cut, and only the Sheriff's Office was burdened with a $3.2 million cut from his original request! Sheriff White believes that last year's actions and this year's budget process paints a too-clear picture of the priority law enforcement receives in the eyes of many of our county leaders.
What does this mean for the future of the Pasco Sheriff's Office and the citizens we serve?
Sheriff White has stated that the agency will continue to provide the best services that we can with the resources provided. The strides we have made in improving the professionalism and quality of service to citizens in the county are unprecedented. For example, since 2000, our response times have been reduced nearly 42 percent for possible life-threatening calls even as the number of these calls for service has steadily increased (see Figure 7). However, Sheriff White does not believe that this improvement in service can continue with the budget restraints that have been imposed on the agency the last two years. As we have shown, the PSO is not funded the same as similar organizations in the state. But we have the same growth, if not more, as the communities that these other agencies serve. And with this growth comes the problems that our agency must deal with -- increased calls for service, a rising inmate population, traffic woes, and the need for more proactive patrolling in our neighborhoods. – less – More from ZoomInfo »