The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office begins reorganization due to another county commission budget reduction of $528,000 for the new fiscal year. This latest cut comes on top of a 17 percent or $5.5 million dollar reduction in the OCSO’s budget during the past three years.
The necessary restructuring includes eliminating civilian and higher level supervisory positions so as to keep more deputies on the streets and as much as possible lessen the degree of operational disruptions this loss will create.
The changes include the elimination of five sworn and thirteen civilian positions.
“The Board of County Commissioners Tuesday night approved another $528,000 reduction in our budget,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley. "Budget reductions combined with expenditure increases require that we undergo another reduction in force. This continued reduction in public safety resources is a tremendous challenge to an agency that already operates at less than half the cost and with 38% few officers per capita than other agencies in the U.S. serving similar size populations. "
“In addition Ashley says, The Okaloosa Sheriff’s office has had a 13% percent increase in calls for service, record-breaking tourist populations, and a 26% jump in violent crime. Based on the ever-growing demands on this agency and its vital public safety function 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, our residents should know that I consider the people we laid off Wednesday as professionals essential to this agency and the community we serve. Their absence will make our public safety mission much more difficult to achieve. I thank each of them for their years of faithful service to this agency and its citizens and wish all of them well in future endeavors.”