Patrolmen, Bridge to Retirement main topics at Sheriff Jim Hammo - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Patrolmen, Bridge to Retirement main topics at Sheriff Jim Hammond's budget proposal

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Sheriff Jim Hammond is trying to convince Hamilton County Commissioners his next budget needs to be almost 9 percent larger than last year's, spending more in 12 out of 14 areas.
The biggest increase is $1.2 million for the jail, which includes funding 16 new correctional officers. The sheriff cites overcrowding and mental health as primary reasons. "The fact that the jail is beginning to really show its age and its very labor intensive to operate," Hammond says.

The commissioners, however, had more questions about the patrol budget, by the numbers its $103,000 less than last year and the Bridge to Retirement Program, which is included under another cost entirely.

"My question was his patrol budget being decreased by $103,000 yet another $190,000 going to another cost, to the Bridge Program. That's technically roughly $300,000 decrease from this year and he said he was not decreasing the number of patrolmen," Chairman Fred Skillern says.

"No, his assumptions are not correct," says Hammond. He credits the drop in numbers in the patrol's budget to moving officers from patrol to school resource officers.

"We're not asking for less personnel. We're asking for more personnel to be able to cover the job we have to do 24-7, 365 days out of the year," says Hammond. "So its all about robbing Peter to pay Paul til you come to the end of the year where you say, I made it by shifting all the money around or I'm out of funds, I got to go back to the commission."

Hammond says he will meet with commissioners and the county mayor to figure out numbers. The mayor will present his budget proposal to commissioners before its voted on.
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