Richland Co. Sheriff's Office Braces For Big Cuts

UPDATED: Wednesday March 24, 2010 11:47 AM

The Richland County Sheriff's Office ordered the layoffs of 30 deputies and 30 jail employees after commissioners slashed funding for the department, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported on Saturday.

The layoffs, scheduled to begin March 30, will affect more than 60 percent of the sheriff's department, virtually eliminating the patrol division, McEntyre reported.

Other public services in the county will be impacted as well.

The Madison Township Fire Department relies on deputies to secure potentially dangerous situations before they respond.

"They will dispatch us to the vicinity, maybe half a block away, and we standby until law enforcement makes sure that the threat is over," said Madison Township Fire Chief Chris Niswander.

Some rescue personnel fear the cuts will jeopardize the safety of first responders and the people they are trying to help.

"We put ourselves in harm's way for the things we are trained to do, but intervening in violent situations or confrontations is not what we do."

Niswander said the department will seek advice from the state on how to handle the dilemma.

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