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Board of Supervisors need to address the sheriff’s office crisis

The Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino told the Fulton County Board of Supervisors more than a year ago that the sheriff’s office was heading to a crisis and they took no action. It is very clear by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ words and actions, that public safety is not a priority of theirs. The sheriff’s office has been out of a contract since 2017 and is severely underpaid compared to that of the surrounding police agencies, yet the Board of Supervisors will not address the pay disparity. The Board of Supervisors felt that “sharpening their pencils” was equal to less than $15 a pay period for the deputies. What an insult to the hard working deputies that protect and serve Fulton County on a daily basis. Several deputies have left for higher paying positions with other agencies and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is barely operating with the 14 road patrol deputies that it has. What is further disturbing, is the anticipated retirements that can occur immediately and those projected within the year.

What is ironic is that Supervisor James K. Groff, a retired sergeant from the sheriff’s office, wrote a letter to the editor nearly 15 years ago, when he was the union president, addressing the same issues. Nothing has changed under Supervisor Groff’s leadership.

The Board of Supervisors may try to minimize this crisis or even deny it, but I wrote them a five page memo outlining the issues on Oct. 21. I told the Board of Supervisors that the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is not competitive in pay and we will continue to hire and train deputies only to see them leave for another agency. This practice costs the county tax payers thousands and thousands of dollars annually.

The public can expect to see longer than usual response times when waiting for law enforcement services due to staffing issues here in Fulton County, until the Board of Supervisors become responsible administrators and address the crisis at the sheriff’s office.

KEITH M. MANNERS

President Fulton County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association