Jails may stay open and deputies may not be taken off city streets if the county accepts a budget proposed by the Riverside County Sheriff.
However, the plan unveiled Wednesday by Sheriff Stan Sniff would gradually decrease the number of deputies patrolling the unincorporated areas of the county, including areas surrounding Lake Elsinore and Wildomar.
The decreases would be accomplished by limiting service and by not filling spots vacated by retirement or transfers.
would see no decreases, lessened patrols in the areas surrounding those cities would presumably still have an impact.
“We won't give out the detail of that breakdown of information until further along in the process and we know more,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Courtney Donowho said in an email statement.
The sheriff in a written statement released late Wednesday said he would never let the level of service for unincorporated areas fall below a ratio of .75 deputies for every 1,000 residents.
The sheriff said he would still fully staff multi-agency task forces that deal with gangs, drugs and sexual predators.
He also said he would not take away any more jail beds or shut down detention centers.
“This new proposal is still being worked out in detail among Sheriff’s executives and the county fiscal officer, but involves gradual savings through staff attrition in the unincorporated areas (and) limited service reductions," according to a Riverside County Sheriff's Department statement released Wednesday.
Last week, the sheriff said he would be forced to give pink slips to between 300 and 500 deputies in order to comply with the county’s mandate to shrink his budget by at least $40 million.
“The new proposal is creative, involves a number of planning assumptions, and ultimately may preclude any of the 500 layoffs currently scheduled to begin on July 13,” according to the statement.
The sheriff said the department would also garner funding from other sources, besides the attrition rate and reduction of services in unincorporated areas.
The half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1993 still generates money, Sniff said in his statement.