Sheriff: Fund office up to code

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting funds for vital equipment and materials for the sheriff’s office was the purpose of a letter Sheriff Jeff Lawless submitted to the county commission on Thursday.

Lawless made the request at the commissioners’ special meeting with the Concerned Citizens of Burlington at the Burlington Commons.

“I have watched over the years, the sheriff’s office struggle with budget constraints,” Lawless wrote. “During my time as chief deputy and during my time as sheriff, I have skimped on everything I can to get this agency through financially year after year. I have begged and borrowed items from everyone in the Tri-State area and around the state who would provide items to the sheriff’s office.”

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Among those borrowed items are uniforms inmates are currently wearing from jails in Highland, Morrow and Franklin counties and Cabell County, W.Va.

“Our inmates are sleeping on worn out mattresses that have been given to us by many of the above mentioned jails once again,” according to Lawless. “The deputies are wearing uniforms that other agencies were throwing away that I begged so that I could outfit them. Their duty gear is worn out and their ballistic vests are in need of replacement as the shelf life is coming due.”

Other requests include upgrading the office’s computer system and training for deputies, corrections officers and SWAT team. Also payroll funds are needed for corrections officers. That fund is projected to be $9,000 short by the first of December.

“I write in the hopes that you can start to bring this office up to code,” Lawless wrote. “The well has run dry on my begging from other agencies as they have nothing more to give. In the past I felt good about the fact that I could keep this office functioning over the years on hand-me downs as I knew the county has little money. Now I am wondering if these efforts were in vain and have become expected from the commissioners’ office.”

Commission President Les Boggs asked Lawless to provide figures for all requested items. The sheriff anticipates having those numbers for the next regular commission meeting on Thursday.

In other action the commission:

• Authorized sick leave of 144 hours to be transferred from one EMS employee to another;

• Approved right of way permits for AEP on County Road 1 to upgrade existing overhead power lines and for Aqua Ohio Company on County Road 406 to install one-inch copper water service line.