The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is looking to add some additional specialized deputies.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is looking to add some additional specialized deputies.

Sheriff Kelly Herzet made the request at the Butler County Commission budget hearing this week, as the commission prepares to set the budget for next year.

“Being the sheriff, the elected official, I think it is the right thing to do,” Herzett said. “I think we need to be proactive, not reactive and get some more officers.

He asked for four additional deputies, two which would be for theft and burglary prevention.

In 2012, county residents experienced thefts valued at $1,468,477 and in 2013 that number totaled $1,440,214.50, not including collateral damage to structures or loss of business income.

Looking back the last few years there were 161 burglaries in 2010, 129 in 2011, 155 in 2012 and 188 in 2013. Thefts totaled 421 in 2011, 491 in 2012 and 464 in 2013.

In the materials presented to the Commission, Herzett stated he believed the additional two deputies could eliminate up to 20 percent of these thefts and he believed the cost of them would be justified by lowering losses and damage incurred by victims.

Another concern was the size of the county, having 406 miles of paved roads and 2,000 miles of unpaged township roads, as well as 180 miles of state and federal highway.

In 2013, the sheriff’s patrol division took 20,277 calls for assistance. At any given time, there are only four officers on patrol.

According to the request, the patrol division has not been expanded in more than five years.

The other two deputies would be for criminal interdiction.

Herzet said they need to form a criminal interdiction patrol division, with two deputies whose only function would be criminal interdiction on federal and state roadways. They would work primarily on the Turnpike, but also on the highways through the county, watching for illegal activity on the highways.

In the information, Herzet also compared the deputies to city police officers. El Dorado, Andover, Augusta and Rose Hill have 12 officers on duty at all times, while the sheriff only has four for the entire county. The deputies also are limited to 150 miles a day unless in emergency situations, which limits prevention activities.

The cost for the four deputies would cost approximately $400,000.

According to the request, Herzet believes the prevention deputies would return their cost to the citizens and businesses and the patrol deputies would pay for themselves with seizure of cash and other items.

The County Commission will be discussing the requests in the next couple of weeks.