Sheriff gets four more deputies to keep up with calls for service

Armed robbers struck the Fort Mill area three times last Friday.

An off-duty sheriff's deputy frequently parks at the Clover Community Bank near the state line because it's been robbed several times in the past two years.

York County Councilman Paul Lindemann said he gets e-mails every week from people in his district worried about crime.

State-line crime helped spur the York County Council this week to agree to add four more deputies to Sheriff Bruce Bryant's department. Bryant and his staff have come to every budget meeting and workshop to convince the council the county needs more deputies. At Monday night's budget workshop, the councilmen told staff to add the positions.

"We're getting hit hard in the border areas," said Councilman Tom Smith, who represents the Clover/Lake Wylie area.

The four deputies will cost the county $380,000 a year, for salaries, cars and equipment. The county also will add a $46,438-per-year crime analyst to the sheriff's budget. The final cost to taxpayers hasn't been tallied. County residents will pay an extra $27.20 in taxes on a home valued at $200,000 under this year's proposed spending plan, but the council won't formally approve the budget until Monday's meeting.

Every year, each department asks for more staff, and each year the county manager's office whittles those requests down. For example, the planning department will get more building inspectors to try to keep up with the construction boom.

York County's population has been growing by an average of about 7,000 people a year since the 2000 Census, according to building permit data.

Bryant said his office responded to 17,000 more calls last year than the previous year. His deputies run from call to call, he said, but he wants to start a new program that will help his office be more proactive.

That sounded good to most of the councilmen.

"There's no greater tax you can pay than something that will save your life," Councilman Curwood Chappell said.