Letter to the editor: County doesn’t need to hire extra jailers

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To the editor:

In a letter to the editor on Feb. 20, Alex Johnson pointed out some unnecessary spending by Sheriff Brad Burkhart. That reminded me to go back and read a news report in this newspaper in the Feb. 10 edition that dwarfs his concerns.

That article ("Sheriff: Jailers wanted," Page A1) reports that sheriff Burkhart intends to add 23 new jailers, six of whom he has already hired, to watch the new jail when it is complete. The 23 would be in addition to the 27 he already has.

When the architects designed the new jail, they said it would be more efficient than the current jail. So why does Sheriff Burkhart need to almost double the number of jailers? Yes, we have been keeping roughly 40 of our inmates in other county jails, but it can’t require 23 new jailers to handle them.

And the total number of inmates has actually been reduced, because our judges have eliminated cash bail for many of those arrested, which means that the total number of inmates has been decreased, thus requiring fewer jailers, not more.

Why does not the Hancock County Council realize this and control Sheriff Burkhart’s spending?

Cora Snider