OZARK COUNTY, Mo.– Rising costs have forced the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office to change its approach to policing the roads.

“We still have an obligation and duty to uphold public safety.” Sheriff Cass Martin said. “However, we’re not going to be out there actively seeking. We’re going to have to tone back, try to save a little bit of money on gas.”

Martin said continuously high gas prices was something they never expected.

“When we had budgeted our fuel budget back in January, we were budgeted for $2.50 gas,” Martin said. “Now we’re looking at $4.43 gas right now, which is well over.”

Authorities said the Sheriff’s Office has $42,000 budgeted for fuel costs for 2022 but used nearly 90% of those funds already by July.

Martin said the department has tried other ways to save on costs.

“We change the oils on the vehicles ourselves,” Martin said. “We took on the expense of mowing the yard here at the sheriff’s office just so we wouldn’t have to pay for those services.”

People in Gainesville have had different reactions to the cutbacks. 

“A lot of our county drug dealers, I guess you can call them by a traffic stops,” Ozark County resident Melissa Bryant said. “So we’re going to have that to deal with all over again. We finally kind of got a little of that under control here recently.”

“I’m not real concerned about it,” Ozark County resident Hank Parker said. “The Sheriff usually does a pretty good job and if there’s an emergency, they’ll [get to] it.”

The Sheriff says the order is temporary until prices go down. He says the executive order is a move to help preserve jobs within the Sheriff’s Office.