Lowndes supes will hire deputy for courthouse

January 8, 2013 10:19:05 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


After a request for more security at the Lowndes County Courthouse, which was the subject of two bomb threats in less than a week, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted to hire an additional sheriff's deputy as a full-time security officer. 


"I met with (Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge) last week and we discussed the cost of hiring additional security," County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said. 


According to Billingsley, the total cost for training, salary, benefits and other items would be between $45,000 and $50,000. 


"I want to clarify this is what the total cost would be," Arledge said. "The job is not going to pay $50,000. This would be the total cost with FICA matches, insurance -- everything. We already have a uniform and a gun so it would probably be even lower." 


Billingsley said they had also discussed hiring a private security company, which would cost about $28,000 a year. Arledge recommended hiring an additional deputy instead because the deputy would have the power to arrest. 


"I agree with Mike about hiring a deputy," District 4 supervisor Jeff Smith said. "Using deputies in the schools has made a big difference." 


The board also discussed using a bailiff full-time to watch the doors of the courthouse. Currently, the courthouse only has bailiffs on court days. 


"It makes sense to have a full-time bailiff," District 5 supervisor Lerory Brooks said. "This won't be effective unless we have someone watching the door." 


Arledge said he supported using a full-time deputy, noting that as many as 1,700 people go through the courthouse on some days. 


"We also have talked about employees only using the backdoor of the courthouse and entering with a key code," Billingsley said. 


The board will discuss the costs associated with hiring a full-time bailiff at its next meeting.