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Sheriff’s deputies upset with budget

A delegation of employees from the Grady County Sheriff’s Office appeared before the Grady County Commission Tuesday night to seek the board’s support for additional staffing and funding for the sheriff’s office.
The officers likely have heard that the county commission is considering eliminating cost of living raises for county employees in 2019 even though 10 percent raises were previously approved for Decatur-Grady E911 personnel.
Among those speaking out were Joseph Edmond, Shawn Poitevint, John Jackson, Chris Luckey, and Clay Murphy.
The law enforcement personnel said the county only has three deputies per shift but should have four to five deputies per shift.
“Forget about that lake and do what you should to protect the citizens,” Shawn Poitevint said.
Commissioner June Knight questioned why overtime was so high in the sheriff’s office. “Because we don’t have enough officers,” Joseph Edmond responded.
John Jackson, a part-time deputy, said that the closing of Southwest State Hospital in Thomasville had negatively impacted all southwest Georgia sheriff’s and that medical transports to facilities as far off as Savannah and Atlanta were common. “We have an average of one medical transport a day now,” Jackson said.
Poitevint said that the Grady County Sheriff’s Office is one of the lowest paid in the state and that officers have to have second jobs to make ends meet.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland told the lawmen that the board had asked Sheriff Harry Young in the past if additional personnel were added could he guarantee that overtime would be reduced and the sheriff could not make that promise. Copeland said there ought to be a way to reduce the overtime expense.
Chris Luckey, an investigator with the sheriff’s office, said the board could not put a cap on overtime but they could cut fees paid to consultants working on the lake project.
After some banter back and forth, the board agreed to schedule a workshop with representatives of the sheriff’s office to discuss issues in depth.
“We’ll be glad to listen to anything you’ve got to say,” Chairman Ray Prince said.
Grady County Clerk Carrie Croy was instructed to schedule a workshop with Sheriff Young and to invite any of the employees of the sheriff’s office who would like to attend.

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