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War, budget threaten Camano cop coverage

The combination of budget cuts and and the war in Afghanistan may force the Island County Sheriff’s Office to forego 24-hour-a-day coverage of Camano Island.

Undersheriff Kelly Mauck explained that two deputies on Camano are in the reserves and may be called up for the surge in Afghanistan. In normal times it would be difficult to completely fill in for them. With a diminished staff, it may be impossible.

The sheriff’s office may lose five deputies this year. During a mid-year budget cut, the sheriff lost three positions, including one through attrition.

In the latest budget reductions, which have to be finalized by the end of the year, the sheriff may lose two deputies.

Mauck said scheduling deputies who live on Whidbey Island to work on Camano will be challenging since it’s about an hour’s drive both ways. That’s time would be part of a deputy’s shift.

Fortunately, a few deputies live in the Mount Vernon area, which will make it easier to send them to Camano Island to work, he said.

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