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Mohave County Moves $500,000 To Sheriff's Department For Salaries

Mohave County Board of Supervisors on Monday narrowly voted to sweep funds to the sheriff's department after rejecting extra funding last budget meeting.

The supervisors voted 3-2 to take $500,000 from the landfill closure fund to help pay for raises in the sheriff's department.

One supervisor proposed using a legal tool to sweep those funds from other accounts to the department, as well as looking into a way to use up to $1.5 million of unused funds meant for future salaries.

This move comes after the board voted no on a budget increase for the sheriff's department — a department that says it is woefully understaffed. 

Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster said at the meeting the current attrition rate needs addressing now.

"I'm struggling on a daily basis to provide the service that people need, and I look long term," Schuster said. "Having worked here for 27 years myself, this is not a new situation."

The department has been plagued by attrition which the recently-elected sheriff says can be fixed by giving raises to the most experienced deputies.

Supervisor Jean Bishop voted against the move because she said it's a temporary solution.

"Until we can get the sheriff a reoccurring revenue source, the sweeping of these funds, I think, is financially irresponsible and the wrong thing to do," Biship said.

The Sheriff's Office has said it would like to hire 20 more deputies, and are short 37 positions at the county jail.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.