The Kern County Sheriff's department has had to reduce the number of deputies on patrol in response to budget issues, Sheriff Donny Youngblood said on Wednesday.
"I can tell you that we have less deputies on the street today than we had in the last several years," Youngblood said.
"We’re coming into a tough budget time again, where we’re looking at having to lay deputies off."
In addition to budget issues, Youngblood said that the number of deputies are affected by those on military deployment, workers compensation, and retirement.
"I can tell you that we have 75 vacant deputy positions," Youngblood said.
"I can tell you that in metro patrol there’s 80 assigned and in the last several weeks we’ve had 49 come into work and that’s not very many."
Comparing his department to Bakersfield Police Department, Youngblood said that BPD doesn't immediately respond to calls that aren't deemed to be "top priority."
He said that KCSO might have to adopt a similar process in the future to ensure that deputies are available for emergency calls.