Sheriff Talks about First Year in Office

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office returned $2.4 million to the county in the 2016-17 budget year and trimmed $500,000 from the current budget, Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said Thursday.

            Fitzhugh spoke about his first year in office Thursday at the St. Clair Street Senior Center.

            “We took a critical, hard look at what had been done and what we wanted to do,” Fitzhugh said.

            The sheriff told the seniors he was very conscious of the money spent by the Sheriff’s Office.

            “We’re very careful with your money,” Fitzhugh said.

            He credited Deputy Chief Preble Acton for recommending the cuts and monitoring the budget daily.

            Fitzhugh reviewed the Sheriff’s Office operations since he was appointed sheriff one year ago today by the Rutherford County Commission.

            Before he took office, the Adult Detention Center lost its state certification.

            Fitzhugh hired Deputy Chief Bernard Salandy, a certified National Institute of Corrections Jail Administrator, and Capt. Chris Fly, certified auditor for the American Correctional Association and a National Institute of Corrections direct supervision trainer.

            The sheriff and detention center staff worked with the Tennessee Corrections Institute to regain certification within five months.

            Other accomplishments include:

  • Becoming the first Tennessee law enforcement agency and the ninth in the nation to be certified by the International Association for Property and Evidence Inc.

  • Establishing a closer relationship with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. That relationship led to several agencies responding together to a rally Oct. 28 in downtown Murfreesboro and the Sheriff’s Office apprehension of two fugitives accused of murdering two Georgia corrections officers.

  • Receiving funding to replace a 1980s computer system for records and the jail. Sheriff’s employees reduced the initial cost by $300,000.

  • Using a private vendor to provide meals for inmates with an estimated savings of $372,000 annually.

  • Adding jail programs to teach inmates work skills so they can obtain good jobs instead of returning to jail.

During 2017,

  • The Jail Booking staff admitted about 13,500 inmates.

  • Patrol deputies answered about 25,000 calls.

  • Dispatchers handled about 1.5 million telephone calls.

  • Court security deputies screened 288,000 people through the Judicial Building and Juvenile Services.

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