Personally, I am not for consolidation. I don't want my taxes to go any higher than they already are. However, at some point, there won't be much left that isn't incorporated into one of the cities of Shelby County and the SCSO will cease to patrol. I guess at that point, the shurf will be relegated to the courts and jail, leaving only fugitive to do anything resembling law enforcement. Then there will be a need for unified law enforcement. If and when that happens, the MPD will have to be the agency that handles it. A 300 man department can't consume one that has 2200.
I think commissioner, Mike Carpenter, has a good understanding of the problem with having a politician running the law enforcement agency. In one of the study group meetings, he said the following:
"But Carpenter said an elected law enforcement head is not without problems, as he emphasized he wasn't talking about Luttrell.
"I don't want to be at the mercy of an unqualified law enforcement officer who can play political games - who can go out and raise money - who can glad-hand folks," Carpenter said. "He can put together enough votes in a crowded field to get the job. Sure, there's some minimal qualifications ... but it doesn't mean you can actually do the job. And we're stuck for four years."
Mike may have emphasized he wasn't talking about Luttrell, but guess what, he was talking about Luttrell. The above scenario describes Mark to a tee, with the exception that the taxpayers will wind up suffering for eight years before he moves on. Mark Luttrell is a jailer, not a cop, and as such, he has no basis of understanding. This leads to him making stupid remarks like:
1. "what authority do we have to make arrests in Bartlett?" (compstats meeting 2004)
2. "We can't arrest our way out of crime" (television news report 2005)
3. "We don't have a big drug or gang problem in county schools" (news story 2005)
4. "Tasers are deadly weapons" (2007 WMC news story)
If the news media would stop legitimizing him as a law enforcement officer (he ain't), he would stop being a public embarrassment. I guess he would only be a private embarrassment then.
Luttrell raises money from convicts, then says he makes no apology for it, but stops taking "reported" contributions from convicts. He also uses his position to abuse and intimidate officers like the following few examples, which are just a few of many:
1. Inspector Judy Hughes was transferred from Fugitive to the report center after filing a county EEOC "hostile work environment" complaint. She supervised 8 clerks, with no captain, no lieutenants, no sergeants and no patrolmen under her authority. She is now retired.
2. Next up was Captain Bobby Simmons. He took Judy's place, and then the report center's clerks were reassigned, when the operation went paperless. Captain Simmons reported to work for about a year, with no-one to supervise. He had an office with a desk and chair, oh yeah and a phone.
3. There was this lieutenant who was transferred to the midnight shift of the Fugitive Bureau because he had said he was going to run for Sheriff.(yeah that would be me)
There are many other examples that could be cited, but that's an exercise in futility, because nobody seems to care. As for the intimidation factor, these things didn't intimidate me, but it certainly had a chilling effect on the other officers. Fortunately, I had enough time on the job that I could retire and get away from the asylum.
If you are one of those people who thinks Luttrell is so great, you might want to read about the federal lawsuit the deputies filed against him after he refused to negotiate with the Deputy Sheriff's Association. Additionally, the top three officers of the DSA have had time off (with pay) to conduct union business since the late '70s. Not anymore. Luttrell sent them all back to their bid positions - another intimidation move. He is refusing to negotiate with the deputies, because they decided they needed to be aligned with the teamsters. Since when can the Sheriff dictate who the officers can be affiliated with? I hope the deputies prevail in their lawsuit, and maybe even get awarded punitive, personal damages. We don't need a dictator at the SCSO.
As for me, I would rather keep things the way they are, except I think the shurf needs to deal with his area of expertise (jails) and leave the policing to those who know whereof they speak.