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Law Enforcement Committee; 21 MAY 24 (Unapproved)

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Chair Commissioner Brad Butler opened the meeting noting the County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe’s absence and there would be no CE announcements.  Commissioner Matt Rubelsky offered a prayer and led the pledge.  The minutes of 19 May 2023 were moved for approval by Commissioner Erin Curry, seconded by Commissioner Rose Brown, and were unanimously approved.  

Next Agenda Item – Review 2024-2025 Budget.  There were no public comments.  First Budget LIs Courtroom Security and Sheriffs Department.  Financial Manager (FM) Beth Moore-Sumners noted that on all of the LIs being considered in this meeting a 5% pay raise was included for all personnel and other than that addition this particular budget had little change.  She did mention that the In-Service Training had been deleted and moved to other accounts for clearer accountability.  She noted that on the handout a column was added showing number of personnel by each salary line.  Questions from the commissioners addressed:  were you able to add one officer for the courthouse duty (we currently have 4); were body cameras now available (yes, passed around one); is there a need for any new vehicles since none showing (vehicle funding now in another line item [capital funds] so not showing in operating budget; fully staffed (mostly 2 short overall but staff funded in these two budget lines);   Next Budget LI Administration of the Sexual Offender Registry.  Chief Deputy Captain Joseph Purvis provided the following information:  there are currently 50 – 90 offenders in the county; sex offenders pay to be monitored; some report quarterly and some annually; some have home visits and some jail visits (question on time involved in each).  Captain Purvis praised the sheriff department employee who monitors, in various ways, about 50 offenders all the time, and monitors a national computer data base for such areas as criminal history (helps with jail housing for example).  Next Budget LI Jail.  The FM reminded the Committee, and others, that this LI has an additional two guards still on the roster but cost of which is not included in this budget.  This previously approved agreement between the Sheriff’s Department and the Commission body has occurred due to the difficulty in hiring up to fully staffed, is still a necessary requirement, and may be brought back up if that situation changes.   She further noted that descriptions of personnel had changed, and the biggest change other than the pay raises is for maintenance/repair of the building.  Commissioner David Adams asked about the Overtime costs with being fully staffed, with Sheriff Helton saying not fully staffed, down over 10% (5 short out of 31 spaces).  The Sheriff went on to explain this is a state wide problem due in part to the stress of the job.  A motion by Commissioner Erin Curry, seconded by Commissioner Tammy Mathis, was made to approve all of the above LIs (Courtroom security, Sheriff’s department, Admin of the Sexual Offender Registry, and Jail).  Further discussion addressed the pros and cons of a drug dog (with Sheriff Helton discussing the various uses – interdiction or investigation, lifetime availability, cost, and manpower).  Commissioner David Wamble asked that consideration of a drug dog be kept in mind.  The above motion was then voted upon, and approved unanimously.  Next Budget LI Drug Control – The FM said the only increase to this LI is for additional software.  The revenue comes from drug seizures and Commissioner Roger Reedy asked if there is a useful vehicle ever available from those seizures.  Sheriff Helton said they had been able to use some in the past but they do have to be used in areas associated with drug usage.  A motion by Commissioner Erin Curry, seconded by Commissioner Tammy Mathis, was made to approve, and was approved unanimously.

The Chair asked if there were any unfinished or new business.  Commissioner Gayle Jones asked about current jail population (122 today, capacity 126, per Capt. Purvis).  Capt. Purvis also provided a short presentation on jail population with the biggest reason being felony probation violations.  Commissioner Shelly Goolsby asked if they were still doing litter assistance within the schools (yes, with the SROs providing the surveillance).  Capt. Purvis reminded the committee that they typically get four cars a year, due to the considerable mileage each month, and that a fifth car might be needed. 

Commissioner Erin Curry moved for adjournment and with Commissioner Tammy Mathis providing the second the motion was approved unanimously.

ATTENDEES:  Members of the committee – Chair Commissioner Brad Butler, Commissioners Erin Curry, Tammy Mathis, Rose Brown, David Wamble, Annelle Guthrie for Tim Risner (absent), Roger Reedy for Matthew Hopkins (absent)  Other Commissioners attending – Joyce Woodard, Matt Rubelsky, Shelley Goolsby, Judy Pruett, Gayle Jones, David Adams, Joseph Sutton, Evan Baddour  Other attending – Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Shana Woodard, Sheriff Kyle Helton, Capt. Joseph Purvis, Public Scott Stewart