HENRY COUNTY - Law Enforcement - TIME TO SHUT UP and Move Into One Central DispatchRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jul 13 2021 3:53 PM
HENRY COUNTY: This morning the Henry County Commission met at 10 AM for administrative meeting and 10:30 AM for regular commission meeting where they vote on issues.
Most of the agenda was dominated by the Sheriff Department.
Chairman/Probate Judge David Money said that his administration has worked on unity and bringing everyone together. The Chairman said the work has been that it was not Headland verses Abbeville/ Abbeville verses Headland, but Henry County as a whole.
The Chairman said that has been accomplished pretty much except in the law enforcement area. One area that affects the safety of the citizens, directly, and they all just can not get along.
That was evident in the interview with Sheriff Will Maddox last night on WTVY and his comments in the meeting concerning a "unified" dispatch in Henry County. Which has had as many as three different dispatch centers.
Abbeville City Council voted unanimously last meeting to move dispatch from Abbeville to Headland. They had been combined into "Henry County Central". Through several missteps and egos, the decision was made to move to Headland for better service at a lot less cost.
The local newspaper said the vote was wrong because the 911 issue was not on the agenda until 3 PM the day of the meeting. The Abbeville Council meets again on Monday. The 911 item is expected to be on the agenda and the vote is expected to be the same.
This morning Henry County Commissioner Benton Beasley made the motion to move dispatch to Headland should the Abbeville City Council vote be the same as the last one, in they were moving it to Headland. That motion passed 4 to 1 with newly appointed Henry County Commissioner Jason Hudspeth voting in opposition.
Henry County does not have the manpower for three communications centers or even two. The Henry County Sheriff Department, Abbeville Police Department, and Headland Police Department all operating on different radio systems.
Then Haleburg Fire and EMS, Abbeville Fire and EMS, Shorterville Fire, Screamer Fire, Newville Fire, and any other fire in Henry County operating on other radio system.
Then Headland Fire and EMS operates on a different radio system then any other department in Henry County.
For decades, I know from Sheriff Francis Welcher, through Sheriff Lawton Ed Armstrong and into the Sheriff Will Maddox Administration, the City of Abbeville dispatched for Henry County Sheriff Department. Under former Abbeville Mayor Billy Helms the price for dispatch went from $ 18,000.00 to $ 50,000.00
That is when Henry County started their own dispatch. That was Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox put the Sheriff dispatch in the Henry County Jail, Abbeville Police had their own dispatch and Headland Police had their own dispatch.
Then Abbeville Police and Henry County Sheriff Department combined into Henry County Central Dispatch. Then a series of blunders Abbeville felt it was in the best interest of the citizens, the law enforcement officers, and emergency responders to move to a Unified Dispatch in Headland.
And the county commission see’s a savings from $ 240,000.00 a year to $ 90,000.00 with the Unified Dispatch.
A Headland Police Officer lost his life. A Henry County Sheriff Deputy lost his eyesight and career as a law enforcement officer. A Henry County Sheriff Deputy got into a fight and had to use deadly physical force - do not remember if he killed the person or not. In a situation in Abbeville, combined Abbeville-Henry County officers had to shoot someone in Abbeville.
A UNIFIED DISPATCH puts everyone on the same page having everyone’s back.