Changes announced for the Liberty Co. Sheriff’s Office
from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at 12:01 a.m., Eddie Joe White was sworn in as Liberty County’s Sheriff by County Judge Kenneth Hosford.
Immediately upon taking office, Sheriff White began to review the status of the Sheriff’s Office to identify areas of immediate need and correction. It became immediately apparent that the Sheriff’s Office would be unable to continue to operate as it had financially.
To address the current financial situation and ease the burden on the taxpayers of Liberty County, Sheriff White consolidated or eliminated some support and administrative positions. These actions are estimated to save the taxpayers approximately $30,000 in salaries and benefits each year. None of the eliminated positions are anticipated to affect the level of day-to-day law enforcement service we provide to our citizens.
To generate outside revenue sources for the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff White has already taken several steps. First, he has reinstituted the trash pick-up agreement with Broad Spectrum who maintains the right-of-ways for state highways in our county. This contract is expected to bring approximately $29,000 of revenue to the Sheriff’s Office each year. Sheriff White also took action to secure our agreement with the Apalachicola National Forest to provide law enforcement assistance to the Forest which generates roughly $6,000 of revenue each year.
Finally, Sheriff White has begun coordinating with surrounding Sheriffs to house inmates, primarily females, for other counties. This is an additional source of revenue which does help off-set the cost of operating our County Jail.
In the County Jail, Sheriff White has implemented a policy of having a “working jail.”
Sheriff White understands there is an obligation for county jail inmates to perform tasks for the betterment of the county, and that jail inmates need a sense of purpose. To this end, Sheriff White has re-instituted the practice of providing jail inmates as laborers to the Road and Bridge Department which saves the taxpayers of Liberty County in excess of $80,000 each year in road, park, and cemetery maintenance. County Jail inmate squads are also now used to maintain the grounds of the Courthouse and other county facilities. As the Sheriff’s Office becomes able, Sheriff White is committed to expanding these programs as a savings and service to the county.
Sheriff White has also re-instituted the work release program for post-sentence county jail inmates. This allows inmates to be productive, taxpaying members of society while also fulfilling obligations of court costs, restitution, or other fees.
To take every action to ensure the safety of the citizens of Liberty County, Sheriff White has implemented a classification system to ensure inmates who gain work release or work squad status pose the least risk to the community.
Sheriff White has placed extreme emphasis on the level of Law Enforcement service the Sheriff’s Office provides to our community. To this end, Sheriff White has reorganized the Patrol Division of the Sheriff’s Office to provide better supervision for deputies, and maximize the law enforcement presence during peak call times.
In an effort to have off-duty deputies remain in the county in the event of an emergency, and to encourage deputies to be stake-holders in the communities they serve, Sheriff White has mandated all full-time deputies establish residency in Liberty County within six months.
Again, this is a cost savings for the taxpayers and provides for quick response in emergency call out situations.
In summation, Sheriff White is committed to pursuing outside funding sources and growing partnerships with our County Commissioners and other agencies to enhance the level of service provided to the citizens of Liberty County by their Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff is committed to being available to every citizen of Liberty County and encourages each community member to contact him with ideas, recommendations, and suggestions.