CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
UPDATE: During Wednesday's Hamilton County Commissioner's meeting, Commissioner Todd Portune suggested an idea to help townships cope with a cut in sheriff's patrols.
Portune wants the county to dip into emergency funds if need by for the next six months to help townships pay for patrols in their areas.
Sheriff Simon Leis says safety is his priority and he fully supports the idea.
Hamilton County sheriff Simon Leis says he's cutting almost 50 percent of deputy patrols in 10 county townships.
The move may happen by next Friday, unless the townships can pay for the deputies themselves.
The move caught many off guard. Some township leaders understood the decision, but others were outraged with the proposal.
Leis told several townships leaders on Tuesday that 35 deputies would need to be cut from community patrols to stay within his budget.
"I hope the townships at this meeting realize I can't provide all the patrols I have been providing and maybe they will pick up some of the people I have to cut," said Leis.
Right now, 76 sheriff's deputies patrol those 10 townships.
"In Colerain's case, we lost about a third of our coverage from the sheriff," said Jeff Ritter from Colerain Township.
"When you cost shift safety to us, and it's not in our budget what do we have to do, we have to go back and raise taxes," said Hubert Brown with Whitewater Township. "We are already paying for the sheriff through our county taxes."
"Certainly we came in and expected if he was going to cut patrols, the cuts would be equitable across the board, but to come and have the sheriff cut 13 out of our 16 officers is shocking," said Tracy Winkler with Green Township.
"Its a big hit, there is no doubt about it," said Leis.
Green Township leaders say this move will leave certain areas of the county open for crime.
"What we end up seeing is that the sheriff has chosen to cut 35 patrol officers and 27 of those are on the west side of Cincinnati," said Winkler.
Sheriff Leis gave the individual townships until Jan. 16 to make a decision on whether to cover the cost to keep their current patrols or not.
"Hopefully they can put up of some of them, and the cost per deputy (is) $75,000 a year," said Leis.
The sheriff says he will continue to try to get money to restore these patrols, but some of the townships tell FOX19 they may consider legal action.
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