Sheriffs contract good idea

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

A police department is an expensive proposition for any city. And the doing away with one, while probably an unpopular move, could be a perfect solution for certain cities to cut expenses.

With a police department comes the expense of personnel, facilities, equipment, vehicles, meals for inmates and liability. There is also the difficulty to maintain qualified personnel because once trained and experienced, an officer can move on to a bigger city for more pay.

Several cities such as Westover, Indian Springs, Chelsea and Wilsonville have contracted with the county Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services.

It has come to our attention that Columbiana is at least considering doing away with its police department due to expense.

If so, the sheriff’s contract could be an excellent solution. The county jail and sheriff&8217;s headquarters is located in Columbiana. Anytime an incident occurs inside the city, deputies could be on the scene just as fast as any police officer.

Columbiana would not have to worry about the liability or the expense of operating a police department and keeping a fleet of patrol cars on the road. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department already writes traffic tickets, serves warrants and makes arrests in the county.

When Wilsonville contracted for sheriff’s office services it was pointed out that would provide seamless law enforcement service between the city, the sheriff’s office and the court system. As an example, Sheriff Chris Curry said there would be no issue as to whether an accident occurs inside or outside the city limits.

&uot;In my opinion, it opens a new better way to handle law enforcement in the area,&uot; Curry said.

It is a notion worth considering