Increased Police Efforts Lead to Budget Shortfalls in Pulaski County

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputies have been busy recently, and that’s led to budget shortfalls for a few county departments. Sheriff Jeff Richwine has had to transfer money from various line items to cover deputy overtime payments. It was one of a few transfer requests approved by the county council Monday.

The increased police efforts are having a ripple effect through Pulaski County’s justice system. Judge Michael Shurn told council members that Superior Court may need a second public defender, since there are limits on how many hours each one may spend on a particular type of case.

For now, Shurn is requesting an additional appropriation for Superior Court, to be considered at a future council meeting. “This is to cover current expenses and some more because [Prosecutor Dan] Murphy tells me his filings were up terrifically in criminal law, and a lot of it’s in Superior Court,” Shurn explained. “I don’t doubt that. He’s been telling me his filings are way up, and so that’s where the money’s going, defending criminal defendants who are indigent.”

Council members also approved a budget transfer for Circuit Court. “We’re transferring some from lines we don’t think we’ll utilize fully to Examination of Prisoners,” Shurn said. “Examination of Prisoners was a huge doctor bill for, I think, a defendant in a murder case for examination, and that case is now, I believe, concluded on a guilty plea.”

Transfer requests were also approved for the Community Development Commission, to cover shortfalls in the Part-Time Help and Advertising line items, and for the Sheriff’s Department, to cover vehicle equipment and repairs.