By Lee Weyhrich
The Pinson City Council on Thursday voted to extend the city’s contract with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for police services for another year.
This marks the eighth year for the contract.
“It is an honor to serve as the officers that protect and keep your community safe,” Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale said. “You have our full attention.”
According to Mayor Hoyt Sanders and Hale, using deputies is much more cost effective than establishing a city police department.
“You don’t have the liability for anything or the cost of a magistrate or a judge, and if deputies are sued you won’t be,” Hale said.
The contract with the sheriff’s office costs Pinson roughly $350,000 a year.
“We looked at (a police force) previously,” Sanders said. “The big thing was the cost of building a jail.”
He added that there were several other expenses, including a dispatcher, radio system, liability issues and the cost of a judge. The sheriff’s office handles these expenses and liabilities.
Crime in the area is significantly down, Hale said. He attributes that to police presence, and the increased likelihood that offenders will be caught.
“The only crime that is up is the breaking and entering of vehicles,” Hale said. “Violent crime is down. Homicide is down.”
Pinson currently has four deputies on contract. With the nearness of other contract deputies from other municipalities, Hale said there are always effectively a dozen or more deputies in close proximity.