Region 8 sheriffs respond to adjustments within departments

Region 8 sheriffs respond to adjustments within departments

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Sheriff’s offices around the area are adjusting to new times and how they operate.

Some have no option but to furlough their employees, while others limit how many inmates are in the jail at a time.

It is something they all say they’ve never had to necessarily deal with.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I can’t recall any time in my career that I thought we would be dealing with some of the issues we are dealing with today. This might be the new normal for us for a long time, we don’t know," Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd said.

In March, we reported that the county worked with the judges and prosecutors to find a way to release non-violent offenders in a response to reduce the jail population.

According to Boyd, they have not had any cases inside the jail and that’s because they are following guidelines.

However, things still have been different for the department.

While some crimes have decreased, they are dealing with more domestic violence calls.

He says this truly a day-by-day approach.

“It’s just about getting those preparations in line where we can continue to provide the best possible service and safety to our citizens that we can,” Boyd said.

Sheriff Boyd says the county has also been looking into doing a volunteer furlough, but nothing is set in stone at this moment.

Those furloughs; however, can be seen in neighboring counties.

Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas says it’s been a balancing act. He, too, in his 30 years of experience has never experienced anything like this.

He says they have even gone down to a 50 percent jail population at the facility and has had to furlough employees.

The Independence County Sheriff’s Office also had to furlough employees and had to release some nonviolent offenders.

Sheriff Shawn Stephens confirmed Wednesday that the facility has around 180 beds and there are only 30 to 40 inmates there as of now.

However, because of a state law requiring a woman guard to be on duty 24-7 if a woman inmate is housed, there are currently no women in jail at this moment.

All of the sheriffs say this is new territory.

However, Sheriff Boyd says even with the changes happening at the sheriff’s departments around the region, they are very much still prepared to respond to any crisis in full force.

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