As reported, due to budgetary constraints, the sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio, was cut from 112 to 49 deputies. Given the sheriff’s departments other duties, including the transportation of prisoners and serving of warrants, that reduction left just one vehicle to patrol the 720-square-mile county. When asked what residents should do for protection, Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey reportedly replied, ” Arm themselves,” and added, “We’re going to have to look after each other.” Area gun dealers and instructors report that they’ve noticed a sharp increase in sales and interest in self-defense classes since the budget cuts and the judge’s statements. One instructor, Tracy Williams, said the cuts mean “you don’t have any other option” other than to listen to Mackey’s advice.
While a reduction in law enforcement funding is unfortunate, it seems that Judge Mackey and the residents of Astabula County are making the best of the situation. Indeed, this may end up being for the best, since even with the prior level of police patrols, there was not a police officer in every location at every time of the day. Even under the best circumstances, the simple fact is that the police can’t be everywhere at once, and it takes just seconds for a criminal to commit their crime and flee. Under less fortunate circumstances, the police can take hours to arrive – despite numerous phone calls to 911 – and are not legally liable for this failure. In the worst circumstances, police officers have unintentionally shot crime victims while trying to stop the criminal – something that police officers are over 5 times more likely to do, compared to armed citizens).
The video clip shown below further discusses the situation: