Sheriff Jim Skinner of the Collin County Sheriff Department says his group has been working for months to find solutions to the incredible growth in the area. Collin County has been, for several years, the fastest growing county in the state of Texas.
"It's an area that encompasses 499 square miles. That's a lot of territory to say grace over," Sheriff Skinner said.
You'll understand why Sheriff Jim Skinner came to the county during budget workshops prepared to fight for any available resource to help do the job.
"Our performance measures have been degraded because of the population and increase number of calls for service," the Sheriff said.
Skinner says he has no problem saying response time in some areas have gone up 225 percent. Currently in the five patrolling districts, there is a deputy assigned to patrolling each area. He says if that deputy ends up making an arrest and has to book someone at the Collin County jail, it may take hours for the deputy to return to their patrolling district.
"That's not unexpected. It's grown with our population growing. But it's time to give him some additional deputies on the road to bring that number back down," said Collin County Commissioner Chris Hill.
On Tuesday, the commissioners did tentatively agree to increase the Sheriff's budget. It could amount to 16 new patrol deputies. It could also help fund maintenance of the jail. Sheriff Skinner has also asked to purchase a standard firearm for deputies: A GLOCK 17 9 millimeter pistol. The chief says currently his deputies carry many different kinds of firearms.
"It speaks volumes to their pledge and commitment to keeping the citizens of this county safe," Skinner said.
The Sheriff says his plan of adding an extra deputy in each of the five patrolling districts and three new dispatchers will significantly drop down that response time. The Sheriff is hopeful response times can be cut in half.
Budget workshops for the county will last through the end of this week. The Sheriff is aware that there can still be changes to the budget leading up to September when it must be finalized by Commissioners.