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Sheriff Closes Office Over No Funding Says, ‘Lock Your Doors, Load Your Guns’

Sheriff John Kirk closed his office temporarily due to budget pressures and told residents to fend for themselves

Inez, KY – A Kentucky sheriff shut down his office and has temporarily ceased law enforcement services provided by the county sheriff on Feb. 4 citing budget pressures urging residents to instead “lock your doors, load your guns and get a biting, barking dog.”

Martin County Sheriff John Kirk made comments on his personal Facebook page about how to protect themselves, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

The Kentucky State Police are now responsible for all complaints, the sheriff wrote.

Sheriff Kirk also laid off the office bookkeeper and limited office hours from 8 .a.m. to noon on weekdays. The sheriff said he had not received a $75,000 payment form the fiscal court that was due in January. And he said his office now has to pay for its own workers’ compensation insurance, retirement and social security benefits, the Lexington Herald Leader reported. He said he has to pay an additional $99,000 in annual expenditures.

Sheriff Kirk laid out his concerns in an 800-word plus Facebook post on Feb. 3.

“I will have to move my only other deputy to day shift and that will leave no protection on nights,” Sheriff Kirk wrote. “I’m sure the thieves and drug dealers will have a ball.”

Sheriff Kirk said his deputies have to use faulty equipment.

“We made it because we run around with borrowed tires on our vehicles with the wires sticking out of them,” Kirk told the fiscal court, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. “We made it because we ran around with plugs in our tires, which is illegal to plug an emergency vehicle tire. But if you have no money, you make tough decisions, don’t you?”

In the Facebook post, Sheriff Kirk blamed poor management by the previous fiscal court for the problems.

“I have worked 16 to 18 hours a day myself to try to serve you, But I too must sleep a few hours. The law requires the Sheriff to collect taxes, Bailiff court and serve papers. We have always provided police protection but without the funding we can no longer do this,” the sheriff posted.

“FOLKS, LOCK YOUR DOORS, LOAD YOUR GUNS AND GET YOU A BARKING, BITING DOG,” Sheriff Kirk wrote. “If the Sheriff’s office can’t protect you, WHO WILL?”

Martin County officials said declining revenue and coal severance dollars was the reason for the delayed sheriff’s payment, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

Tom Gantert - February Wed, 2019


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