BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Budget cuts have shaken the sense of security inside Erie County's Rath Building.
Social Services workers could not speak on camera, but made it clear to off camera that they are concerned about losing some of the deputies who protect them.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said, "When there's only so many resources, we have to stop somewhere."
Sheriff Howard seems resigned to the fact that there will be cuts. The County Executive's proposed budget is eliminating 20 positions in jail management, and another 21 positions in the Sheriff's office. The most noticeable result is that the 11 deputies and one sargeant who now guard the Social Services offices will be cut down to only three deputies: one guarding the work placement office on Main Street, one guarding the HEAP office on Main, and one guarding the Social Services office of the three, on the first floor of the Rath Building.
Erie County Legislature Ray Walters said, "I think there is room for cuts certainly, I don't think that 11 are necessary. They're a reactive unit. They're not there for prevention purposes."
Erie County Undersheriff Mark Wipperman said, "We probably respond to an average three to four disorderly persons a day in the Rath Building. Not all of them are arrested, but we let them leave with the promise that they won't return until the next day."
Some legislators expressed concern that the Sheriff's office still spends millions in overtime to meet the current staffing levels.
Erie County Legislature Thomas Loughran said, "If someone's working 80 hours a week, that has a direct impact on the operation of your department."
"One of the ways of reducing overtime is for the union to change its position on the use of part-time employees when they think they're working too much overtime," said Sheriff Howard.
But the Sheriff says the message is clear: the taxpayers don't want another tax hike to fill more Sheriff's positions.
Sheriff Howard said, "So, if they don't want an increase, they have to live with less services and which services are gonna get cut."
The County Executive's office wants to make it clear that even with these job cuts, there will still be as many deputies on road patrol and watching the jails as there are now.
NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has obtained a court order to prevent a Buffalo woman from ever selling puppies again.
A 24-year-old man being sought after his mother and brother were found dead in their Lehigh Acres, Florida home may be heading to Buffalo.
Around 5 p.m. on Thursday near the corner of Model City Road and Rt. 104, police say 84-year-old Jose Martinez was hit by a car driven by 82-year-old Maura Nolan. Both are residents of Lewiston.
Intense Lk Snow North early heads back to Ski Country Late; General Snow Saturday
It appears snowy weather scared off about half the crowd expected at Thursday night's Common Core forum at WNED TV studios in Buffalo.
GingerBread Lane, a 300-square-foot village made entirely of edible gingerbread, icing and candy, has been designated world's largest gingerbread village by Guinness World Records.