What Does The Future Hold For The Clay County Sheriff's Office

Newschannel 6 has continuing coverage on the issues surrounding the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Concerned residents are now questioning the future of the Sheriff's Office and its deputies. 
Just days ago two deputies resigned leaving only ten deputies to patrol and protect the county streets.

Sheriff Lemons tells Newschannel 6 it is going to be rough to try and cover positions in the field. He says the future of the Sheriff's Office looks bright.

But despite the sheriff's positive attitude residents tell Newschannel 6 they are less hopeful in what was once a solid group of deputies. The Clay County Sheriff's Office cannot seem to stay out of the spotlight.

It has been one issue after the other. They have been struggling with funds, then a federal overtime investigation, and now two senior deputies who left the force are under investigation. Residents say they are shocked.

Clay County resident Carrie Chadwick says, "I just hate to see that. It is not the same, I'm sorry I just don't feel safe, I really don't."

Sheriff Lemons says despite what is going on citizen safety always comes first. He says being short staffed will be a challenge because the Sheriff's Office covers a little over 1,100 square miles of ground. They also provides 24/7 coverage for the streets of Henrietta.

With less man power resident Carrie Chadwick says that means a longer response time and she will have to think twice before calling 911. "I've got a golf club and a baseball bat there so I got to think twice if they can make it. If not, I'm not afraid to use it. But they are great, Kenny is great and I just hate to see what is happening."

Carrie Chadwick is not alone. Residents will continue to support the Sheriff's Office for their services.

Clay County Sheriff's Office might be facing more changes after Clay County Commissioners decided to take away incentive based pay for deputies. Newschannel 6 was told with no incentive pay deputies filling the force could be younger and less experienced.

The Sheriff's Office tells Newschannel 6 they are looking to fill the two open positions now, but the paper work and proper training can  take up to three to six weeks.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6