Athens Co. Sheriff Seeks New Deputy

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Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly told county commissioners Tuesday morning that his office is stretched too thin and he needs another deputy as a result.  

"My guys are covering Glouster now. They're covering Jacksonville, Trimble, Chauncey. All these places are supposed to have police departments and they don't and my guys are just swamped," said Kelly.

Kelly said he hoped the commissioners would provide the funding for a new deputy in his office.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason told Kelly that he couldn't provide more services to certain villages than other areas. 

"Your obligation is unless they're contracting with you, not to give them anymore coverage than what you're giving everyone else," said Eliason.

"If I don't cover them, the reprecussions come back on my office and I'm not interested in that. So, I'm in a catch 22," said Kelly.

Kelly cited Glouster as an example of his department making up for a small police force.

According to Kelly, there is currently only one police officer working for the Glouster department.

"He can only work eight hours and they don't have the money to pay overtime up there," said Kelly.

Kelly says the problem goes all the way to the Mayor's office.

"He's the chief law enforcement officer of that village. All the residents, they would love nothing more than me to take over the village but…they don't make enough money for me to take the village over. And I don't think they want to do that, but something's gonna have to happen here," Kelly said.

When asked by Eliason, Kelly said Glouster doesn't have the money to pay for a deputy and that he has tried working with them to find a solution.

"I've had discussions with them, but they're just not doing anything about it. By law I have to cover the villages, but I just don't have the manpower to keep this up," said Kelly.

Eliason suggested finding a solution that would put some of the financial burden back on the villages.

"The first option is to say 'can you guys pay a portion toward this' and if each of this villages want to pitch in three or four or $5,000…we can come up with part of it and say yes," Eliason said.

Kelly says this wasn't the first time he's approached commissioners about creating another deputy spot.

Elaison says they are still "thinking on it, as they've recieved five or six requests for things" and are trying to prioritize.