Sheriff John Darr releases statement responding to allegations about usage of taxpayers’ money

Sheriff John Darr (Photo source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Office website)
Sheriff John Darr (Photo source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Office website)

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Click this link to see the Sheriff's Budget for the firing range via Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

On Thursday, May 8, the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office released the following statement from Sheriff John Darr in response to allegations of misusing taxpayer money.

May 08, 2014

"As the Sheriff of Muscogee County, I feel it's important to clear up some misinformation regarding the use of taxpayer monies for the operations of the Sheriff's Office. I have stood by patiently for several months while politicos used the underfunding of the Sheriff's Office as a misguided message to explain the financial woes of our community.

"I am a student of the belief that there is no place in law enforcement for politics but my tolerance of half-truths and misinformation has been fully exhausted.

"In a recent statement by the Mayor, and printed in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, the taxpayers were mistakenly lead to believe that the Sheriff's office had spent $1.7 million to build and maintain a firing range used by sworn law enforcement officers of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, Muscogee County Marshal's Office, Muscogee County Prison, Georgia Department of Corrections and other state and federal law enforcement agencies for training.

"Several months ago, I requested from the CCG Finance Department the total amount spent on the Firing Range over the last three years.

"The CCG Finance Department provided me with a list of expenses that included Firing Range costs and other training costs not related to the range such as ammunition and classroom supplies.

"Based on the CCG Finance Department's report, a total of $133,913.00 has been invested into this firing range over the past 3 years TOTAL and of that total only $38,791.00 were general fund tax dollars with the remaining balance coming from Local Option Sales Tax funds that the citizens had approved to be used for public safety enhancements.

"While the Sheriff's Office budget has been underfunded for several years, my team and I continue to look for ways to save taxpayer dollars and provide the services we are required to supply under the constitutions of Georgia and the United States. Until we are properly funded we will continue to experience overruns in inmate healthcare costs and other related expenses.

"As the Sheriff of Muscogee County I will always provide answers as to where and why taxpayer money is being used within the areas of the criminal justice system for which I am responsible."