Dealing with illegal dumping is just one part of the job for Precinct 3 Constable Randy Thompson. He serves warrants, and makes traffic stops and arrests -- all in his own vehicle, driving thousands of miles a month.
"So far, it's been that the county doesn't have the money available to fund us and fund our gas," he said. "So we've been just doing what we can with what we got."
Thompson spends at least $600 a month on gas. But he gets only $150 from the county. That forces him to take at least $450 out of his own pocket every month.
"It's hindered us greatly," Thompson. "I've got to, right now, I've got to slow down 'cause it's gotten to where it's taking food from my kids' mouths."
Cherokee County officials say they have not received a request from Thompson for more money.
"They're budgeted at $150 a month, and that's what they're getting," L.H. Crockett, county auditor, said. "If it's costing them more than that, well, that would come out of their pocket."
One purchase Thompson says he cannot afford to make, but says the county desperately needs, is a surveillance camera to catch illegal dumpers in the act and make them pay.
"As it is right now, we don't have no evidence," Thompson said. "It falls on the county to clean it up."
Commissioners say they will consider a budget increase for gas the next fiscal year. But Constable Thompson says he doubts he'll get the money he needs because the county has been devoting much of their resources to the jail.
Regardless, he says he will do what it takes to make Cherokee County citizens happy.
Constable Thompson is not the only one who has to spend his own money to do his job. Precinct 1 Constable Charles Williams is also losing a few hundred dollars a month to gas expenses.
The next budget year starts October 1.
Julie Tam, reporting. email@example.com