Muscogee County: Marshal's Office & Sheriff's Dept. to merge - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Muscogee Co. Marshal's and Sheriff's Dept. discuss possible merger

By Roslyn Giles

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A possible merger between the Muscogee County Marshal's Office and the Sheriff's Department has been the topic of discussion for at least 20 years.

Voters said "no" at the ballot box in 2000 in a 62-38 percent vote back in 2000.

Now, the issue is resurfacing again.  Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said the measure comes up periodically during the Charter Review Commission. 

It meets every 10 years to analyze the city charter or government structure.  The council-appointed panel recently reconvened. The idea was also mentioned during recent budget committee meetings.

Tomlinson added, "I figured instead of voting on and considering a motion in politics, we would try considering this in the realm of facts and data. Let's see what this really means to the taxpayers-- if it will save them money or won't save them money."

The Marshal's Office serves municipal court and takes at least two weeks to deliver papers, according to Tomlinson.  Years ago, the time span ranged from 6 to 8 weeks.   The Sheriff's Department serves state and superior court while both entities have law enforcement powers.

Marshal Greg Countryman contends his department is run very efficiently.  Countryman and Darr both welcome the idea.  The city will hire a consulting firm to assess the departments' day to day operations so the voters can decide.

A study could cost up to $70,000.  The ultimate decision would be voted on during a county-wide referendum.

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