OKMULGEE County Sheriff deputies furloughed

Tuesday, May 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Okmulgee County's Sheriff Ernest Arocha was told by the County Commissioners Tuesday he had no money left in his payroll budget. So six deputies have been furloughed.

That leaves three deputies, the Undersheriff and the sheriff to patrol the county on 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Come July 1st, when the new fiscal year begins, the sheriff promises to hire the deputies back. "We're gonna be out there, myself, the other four will be there and we'll get there. We'll get assistance from other local law enforcement agencies if needed, but the Sheriff's Department's not gonna quit just because we're short handed. We'll hold the fort until the other guys come back."

One of the deputies furloughed, Investigator James Poulin says, "the citizens should be outraged, I am. Not only are the employees suffering but the citizens of Okmulgee are gonna suffer these people are gonna work 12 hour shifts, they don't understand the calls that come in here."

County Commissioners have offered to put the deputies to work operating heavy equipment at the county road barn until they're re-hired by the sheriff. Investigator Poulin says deputies aren't qualified to operate road graders or dump trucks.