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In this age of increased "Homeland Security" it's ironic that law enforcement agencies across the nation are experiencing critical shortages. It's hit home here in South Central Kentucky too, where drastic budget cuts have forced some counties to dump some of their deputies.

In Hart County, funding problems have left the sheriff with no other option but to layoff officers, a decision many fear will jeopardize the safety of their streets.

"We did have 24-hour patrol, then we went to 16-hours, now we have none. If I have to take the rest of my deputies off the streets, they won't be covered."

Hart County Sheriff Jeff Staples says the biggest reason the department has been over-budgeted is meth and drug-related crimes.

But the shortage doesn't stop in Hart County. Butler County Sheriff Kenneth Morris says he's down to two deputies now, and it doesn't look like any help is on the horizon.

"We're just going to have to do the best we can with limited funds and few deputies. We will have to try and prioritize and go for more serious problems in our community."

But where does the problem end? Staples says he hopes the Hart County Fiscal Court will be able to subsidize the department when they prepare a new budget next year. Until then, Staples says his deputies will provide what protection they can and other agencies will have to pick up the slack.

Sheriff Morris is hoping new industry moving to town will give his department the tax boost it needs.

Watch WBKO Tuesday and Wednesday night, when we take a closer look at the problem of too little police protection on your streets in our special report "Under-Covered."