Grady County in need of Sheriff deputies - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Grady County in need of Sheriff deputies

November 13, 2006

Grady County-  Grady County Sheriff Harry Young believes he needs six more deputies to adequately handle crime in Grady County.  The additional deputies would put him in line with guidelines from the Georgia Sheriff's Association that recommend one deputy per 1,000 residents. Commissioners say to do that they would need to raise taxes to a point people couldn't afford.

In the last five years Grady County Sheriff Harry Young says calls to the Sheriff's office have nearly doubled, but the number of deputies responding to those calls hasn't kept up. Young also claims more deputies at the courthouse have left him short on the streets.

"We need to have at least three armed deputies there just for protection where we didn't use to have that, we have one or two one deputy or two deputies there and that would be it," said Grady County Sheriff Harry Young.

The Sheriff's says it's especially hard when deputies respond to something on the east side of the county and then have to deal with a problem somewhere else.

"I'd like to get where we can cut our response times less than half, and they should be," said Young.

Depending on where a call might be, it could take deputies nearly 30 minutes to respond. While Young says he needs more help, commissioners believe participation in other programs is providing the Sheriff some assistance.

"Plus we fund along with Mitchell County the Drug Task Force to the tune of about 130-thousand dollars which would supply about 3 or 4 law enforcement people," said Grady County Commissioner Al Ball.

A tax reassessment is expected to increase taxes for some homeowners by at least 20 percent. Commissioners say they can't justify another increase on top of that.

"They really are going to have to struggle just to come up with the tax increase that's coming about as a result of the tax evaluation let alone additional staffing services for the various departments," said Ball.

Commissioners say they're committed to public safety, but say the Sheriff's needs can't be met all at once. They hope to build the office to the levels the Sheriff wants, but say it will take time.

Sheriff Harry Young also said he's losing deputies to departments that can pay their officers more. Starting deputies next year will make $10.33 an hour.

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