LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
10 MAY 2022
Chairman Commissioner Rodney Journey opened the meeting asking Commissioner Tommy Pollard to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. Minutes of 12 May 2021 were provided and the Chairman asked for a motion to approve. Commissioner Joyce Woodard moved for approval and with Commissioner Rose Brown seconding, vote was to approve the minutes.
First Agenda Item – Adani body scanner. This item was approved previously in the Budget Committee with the caveat that the Jail Committee approve. Chief Deputy Brandon Beard mentioned an earlier demonstration and the associated discovery of drugs, including fentanyl, which would have been deadly inside the jail. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is strongly encouraging the use of this device, seeing it as reducing offender drug overdoses and preventing other contraband from entering the facilities. A motion to approve was made by Commissioner David Wamble, seconded by Commissioner Brad Butler. Commissioner Harold Brooks asked what does the scanner detect and Brandon said guns, drugs, and other illegal contraband, even some masses doctors have missed. Price is $190,294. Commissioner Mike Cesarini asked about training, and Brandon responded with a couple of officers, on site. David Wamble asked about any recurring cost and/or maintenance. Brandon said with proper placement it should be good for about 10 years. And for software updates, nothing the jail is committing to at this time. In comparison to airport security, that is a walk-thru where this device is a step up, operate, step down. Motion was approved.
Second Agenda Item – Budget (Third Agenda Item – Raises also included in discussion). Financial Management Director Beth Moore-Sumners summarized changes to the Sheriff’s Department and to the Jail budgets. The Sheriff’s Department budget now includes Animal Control since there are two certified deputies for that service, the Sheriff’s Department and the Jail include any increased vehicle costs including higher fuel costs, and the new net percentage discount factor of 6.95 compared to previous of 4.07 for the unfunded pension liabilities. Beth mentioned this will be a significant cost increase factor for retirement liability on the other departments with county employees (total for county unofficially a minimum $500K increase), and the gas increase for those using county vehicles as well. Brandon mentioned a reduction in the budget for the upcoming year due to a new contract covering medicine. He estimated a reduction of $220k – 230K savings. This is not related to population within the jail, but due to costing through the new contract. David Wamble asked about a significant increase from last year’s budget to the upcoming year’s budget. Beth explained the increase with several factors: insurance is attached to the individual who may fall into a different, more costly category; turnovers with usually a two-month delay, but budgets for all employees; last year’s budget has been amended to accommodate more current requirements; and the budget is for “fully staffed”. The fully staffed affected both the insurance and the salaries. Also included in the salary cost is an estimated 4% postulated county raise, as well as an additional 2% raise determined by the Sheriff Department for that department and for the Jail staff. Considerable discussion at this time about whether there had been a time when there was a fully staffed organization or should the budget reflect the more usual staffing. David Wamble asked Sheriff Kyle Helton if there had to be a cut in the proposed budget where would he take that cut. Raises were mentioned but given the short staffing, the raises were considered more important in retaining the personnel already on board, vs budgeting for a fully staffed organization. Mike asked if Sheriff Helton would be in agreement with budgeting for a smaller number of people, since there would have to be a letter agreeing to that, and Beth said would need to be documented. County Executive Melissa Greene cautioned all that with this being an election year, some decisions made now could change. Sheriff Helton did say that there are TCI standards he has to meet which dictate certain numbers of personnel, and, after being asked how he is doing his effort with a shorter staff, he said with overtime and some part time assistance. Commissioner Roger Reedy mentioned that if doing the raise is due mainly to inflation, then that could go down, and then the increased budget would take funds away from other requirements. Commissioner Rose Brown moved that this budget be forwarded to the Budget Committee with a reduction of three planned hires and associated funding(approximately $150K for fully loaded payroll costs for three) and with the 6% raise remaining in the budget. David Wamble seconded that motion. Mike Cesarini said just to be clear, this budget does include the 6% raise, and Beth said yes, with the exception of the Sheriff who with state guidance will be 5%. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked about a couple of line items within the budget, i.e. maintenance and repair, and Brandon responded with a $10K is planned for a cooler and Beth answered almost all the increases are for the animal control costs. David Adams asked about the School Resource Officer line going down and did that mean the schools would be losing one. Beth answered no has to do with turnover and reduced costs. Mike again asked if Sheriff Helton was willing to sign for the planned 3-person reduction and he said he would sign. The motion was approved.
The other part of the budget is for the Drug Control and Beth said this basically mirrors the previous year budget. Rotation of a patrol car was mentioned, as were any “good” cars confiscated. Answer no. David Wamble moved to send to budget committee with Joyce Woodard seconding. Motion approved.
Last Item on the agenda – the Grant from The Ingram Foundation. The Foundation does two grants a year, typically. David Wamble moved to forward to the Budget Committee with Rose Brown seconding. Motion approved.
Beth Moore-Sumners gave an update on her thoughts on the planned budgets.
With no old or new business, Rose Brown moved for adjournment. David Wamble seconded. Motion approved.
ATTENDEES: Committee Members: Chairman Rodney Journey, Joyce Woodard, David Wamble, Brad Butler, Harold Brooks (for Terry Harwell – absent), Mike Cesarini (for Tim Risner-absent), Rose Brown Other Commissioners: David Adams, Joseph Sutton, Tommy Pollard, Stoney Jackson, Duane Jones, Larry Worsham, Gayle Jones, Roger Reedy, Bill Cary, Other: County Executive Melissa Greene, Sheriff Kyle Helton, Chief Deputy Brandon Beard, Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin