BATAVIA – Genesee County’s STOP-DWI coordinator, facing increased overtime costs for police officers to combat drunk driving, is hoping that lawmakers agree that the time is right for a full-time DWI road deputy.
Assistant County Manager L. Matthew Landers said he is prepared to present his plan to create a new deputy sheriff’s position at Wednesday afternoon’s County Legislature Ways & Means Committee meeting.
“I really don’t like the fact that we’re paying so much for overtime for driving while intoxicated enforcement when we have the option of a dedicated DWI officer. If we can pay $30 per hour for the deputy rather than $45 per hour for overtime, that’s 50 percent more productivity,” said Landers, who oversees the STOP-DWI program for the county.
Landers said STOP-DWI overtime costs for deputy road patrols went up by 58 percent from 2014 to 2015. His proposal for 2016 cuts the overtime budget by $10,000 but includes a line item of $50,000 for the new deputy.
He said that he would use that $60,000 to pay the deputy’s salary and will be asking the legislature to allocate $40,000 from the county’s general fund for fringe benefits.
“We still will have overtime details, and we will continue to want officers from LeRoy, the City of Batavia and the county sheriff’s department to go after the drunk drivers, but having an extra deputy on the road would make a big difference.”
Landers said that County Sheriff Gary T. Maha has indicated he would like to hire another road deputy, adding that the DWI deputy could also help out in other situations.
Genesee County’s total STOP-DWI budget – $257,000 – is derived from fines collected from DWI cases in Genesee County, Landers noted.
About $125,000 of that goes toward enforcement while $60,000 is given to the Probation Department and Genesee Justice and another $40,000 goes toward prosecution. STOP-DWI also provides funding to the district attorney’s office, county Youth Bureau and Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
“If the legislature passes this, it indicates they are supportive of a new deputy,” Landers said. “I will fight for it and push for it, but I will understand if they don’t feel they can put $40,000 toward it.”
Department heads are formulating their budgets now in anticipation of legislative action in November, he said.