Tuesday night, Sheriff Lee Boan made his case, formally asking Kershaw County Council to transfer authority of the Kershaw County Detention Center (KCDC) to him. To be sure, this was a request, not a demand.
“I’m not going to stick out my lip and cry about it,” Boan said, if council decides not to honor his request.
Boan brought no timetable with him.
What he did bring was what we think are good ideas about why he should be given control, answered some questions even his own staff have asked him, and support from Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis, who operates the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center.
Highlights from today’s front page story include:
• The combined budgets of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and KCDC are $8.2 million, accounting for only 16 percent of the county’s $48.8 million budget. A lot of money, as Boan pointed out, but not the 40 percent others had claimed.
• By not replacing retired Jail Administrator Peggy Spivey, Boan believes he could provide an average of a $2,000 raise to current KCDC employees.
• Having jail officers and deputies trained by the same training officer, would not only save money, but KCDC employees could transport prisoners to, for example, the courthouse and then provide security while they are there instead of handing them off to a separate court security unit.
One of the most interesting things about Boan’s presentation was his revelation that, when first approached about taking over the jail following
Spivey’s retirement announcement, he initially balked at the idea. It wasn’t until he researched the possibility that he felt it would be a good idea, if council agreed.
Daniels picked up on that, urging Kershaw County Council members to contact their counterparts in Sumter and Lee counties to see what they thought of his operating their combined jail, something he has done since September 2017.
There are concerns. We can’t help but nod our heads with some agreement at 5th Circuit Public Defender Fielding Pringle’s worry about having those who arrest and investigate suspects also be their jailers.
However, Boan said not only that he plans to keep the current jail staff in place for the time being, he plans to allow them to continue operating the jail as they currently do. That means the KCDC would continue to be the “gold standard” Pringle claimed it is.
Council -- specifically Jimmy Jones -- wisely deferred any action on Boan’s request until its next meeting, which is not slated until Aug. 13. That gives members plenty of time to do their own research, including contacting their counterparts in Sumter and Lee counties.
After hearing Boan’s presentation, however, we are still cautiously supporting the idea. We see no reason at the moment why combining sheriff’s office and detention center operations wouldn’t be a good thing for the citizens of Kershaw County, including those who end up being housed at the jail.