April 16, 2011

LCSO Stops Patrols In State Parks

Budget cuts are forcing the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office to stop routine patrols in state parks and recreation areas.

Beginning May 1, deputies said they will direct any non-emergency calls to Nebraska Game and Parks or the Nebraska State Patrol.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said his deputies will only respond to life-threatening emergencies, like a recent boating accident at Branched Oak Lake. And his office would contract out to routinely patrol the parks.

Wagner said his office faces budget cuts, and he is concerned there will be more calls to recreation areas because of the lifting of a ban on alcohol by the state.

"They get all the money from park stickers, campers, the state gets all the sales tax money, we get nothing," said Wagner.

Game and Parks officials said they will try to work with Sheriff Wagner.

"We've had a great working relationship with Lancaster County and other offices. I understand the budget constraints, we have them too," said Roger Kuhn with Nebraska Game and Parks.

Some parkgoers said they don't like the idea of deputies not being there.

"You see the deputies out there, yeah, you feel a little more secure and it is a deterrent," said Evan Slattery.

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