JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Teton County's sheriff is proposing an allowance for deputies who have been pushed out of the area because of the high cost of housing.

Sheriff Jim Whalen says only five of the department's 23 sworn deputies live in the valley, which leaves the county vulnerable during emergencies.

In a letter to county commissioners, Whalen pointed to the department's inability to properly respond to a powerful snowstorm that closed the Snake River Canyon and Teton Pass for several days in February.

He says "Teton County needed to have a robust emergency response and we couldn't provide it."

The sheriff has pushed for housing allowances in the past but has been unable to get approval.

Whalen says not incentivizing emergency personnel to live in the area puts people at risk.

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