Muscogee Co. Sheriff addresses city council Tuesday

Muscogee Co. Sheriff addresses city council Tuesday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr says he felt it necessary to address City Council on Tuesday to clarify points that were made during the Mayor's budget presentation.

"We understand what our mission is at the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, that's what we focus on, but there is funding required to do that," Darr said.

Darr addressed a number of subjects, including the fact the sheriff's office does not have a full-time operations team and cost per inmate.

A graph compared Muscogee County to other counties around the state with similar populations and showed the counties' cost per inmate is significantly lower.

"We run a very fiscal responsible Sheriff's Office especially when it comes to the county jail," Darr said. "We believe we are going a very good job of being good stewards of the tax payer's money and i think that bar graph shows that."

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson hopes as budget discussions continue, law enforcement entities will focus more on what she believes is a duplication of services.

"What we are leaning is the Sheriff is talking about the jail and we are talking about other law enforcement activities that are being replicated by the police department, by the Marshal's Office. So the more and more we talk about it I think we are refining the discussion. Today he provided us with information about the jail. Well there has been no discussion of cutting any funding to the jail," explained Tomlinson.

If approved, Tomlinson's proposed fiscal 2016 budget would cut the sheriff offices' budget by approximately 2.5 percent.

Darr is among four city officials who are currently suing the Consolidated Government because they claim the city does not sufficiently fund their departments.

"When you're in a budget presentation it's our job to convey to the council, who is going to approve the budget, you need for running the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, and I've said this, it hasn't changed, we are not sufficiently funded to run the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office," explained Darr.

The discussion will continue May 19.

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