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Sheriff's Study Doesn't Spur Support From County


UPDATED: Tuesday March 26, 2013 1:17 AM

An 89-thousand dollar study of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office has the Sheriff and at least one county leader seeing things very differently.

The management study paints a portrait of a Sheriff's Office severely understaffed, 10tv's Glenn McEntyre reports.

"After a year-long investigation, what they found is that we were about 160 people short of what we actually needed, which was creating most of all of these problems," said Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott.

Sheriff Scott says the problems include runaway overtime.

"We have constant variables in our job. So when you complicate that situation with not enough staff, you're going to have to fill it with overtime because lives are at risk if you don't."

He said other issues include safety questions at the county's jails, which he says have been running 'dangerously close to not being safe', and concerns over the quality of investigations.

"You want to be as thorough as you can with investigations because it affects a lot of lives. And so when you're running short, you're affecting a lot of lives." Sheriff Scott said.

Franklin County Commission President John O'Grady sees the situation very differently.

"This is not about safety and security. This is about how the Sheriff and his folks make decisions," he said. "The Sheriff reads the report and says, 'it says I need more people'. I need more people.' I read the report and I see there's a lot of issues and a lot of management questions and a lot of things that need to be assessed and fixed first."

O'Grady said that includes duplication of services and a Sheriff's budget that he calls too big.

"Show me the numbers. Measure your output. Tell me how many runs you have. Tell me why your people can't get the job done. Measure it. Show it to me." O'Grady said.

The Sheriff said he's provided commissioners all the data he can and the management study backed him up.

 "I guess the rest is going to be up to them-- if they're going to do what's right for the community and actually not waste taxpayer dollars and actually make sure they're spending them efficiently."

County Commissioner Paula Brooks said the study found the Sheriff's Office is well-run now, but with vast opportunity for improvement.

"We need to take this seriously, take the time to do it well, but do it as quickly as our finances will allow." Brooks said.

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