Shelby Co. Sheriff to Cut Special Event Security

(Memphis) The Shelby county Sheriff’s office is slashing its budget along with every other department in the county because of the added cost of unified schools.

The Sheriff has cut nearly $3 million out of their $ 144 million dollar budget.

One place they found they could cut is pulling deputies from special events like the Southern Heritage Classic, the St. Jude Marathon and Cotton Carnival.

The news comes just weeks after the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Commissioner Mike Ritz thinks that’s a great idea.

“I don’t see how we can tell the citizens of Memphis that the sheriff is providing security for all these operations out there. Not that their not good but we can’t afford it,” said Ritz.

The sheriff’s department makes up the biggest portion of the county’s budget, so they’ve hired a special events coordinator to work with local groups.

That could help reduce the sheriff’s and county’s budget.

“We’re now in a situation where the funds that we have to have we really have to scrutinize and we’ve done that. We’ve returned over $5 million to the county tax payers in two years,” said Sheriff Bill Oldham.

The sheriff’s office is working with groups to see if they can find sponsorships to pay their deputies for their services at private events.

The sheriff’s office is also questioning the deputy they send with the University of Memphis basketball team to away games.

Commissioners say The U of M can afford their own.

“If the university of Memphis thinks their basketball coach needs security then they can go pay for it. And if their own force can’t do it they can go hire one of the greatest private security firms in the whole world has an office right here in Memphis,” said Ritz.

The commission can’t tell the sheriff what do to.

These are just recommendations and it’s his ultimate decision to cut where he sees fit.

The sheriff says there still will be a presence at events just highly scaled back.

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