TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tipton County Sheriff's Office says they sometimes drop inmates off at a homeless shelter in Memphis, but they only do so if the person meets certain criteria.
Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty's statement comes in response to an inmate who told WREG he was almost dropped off at the Union Mission after his release recently and would've had to walk home to Tipton County barefoot, although deputies ultimately did not take him to Memphis.
"We don't turn people out in freezing temperatures if they don't have someone to sign them out," Daugherty said. "We don't arbitrarily drop people off anywhere just for the heck of it."
Video shows Jim Cropper walking barefoot across the lobby floor of the Tipton County Sheriff's office. He told us he got out of jail and deputies tried to drop him off in Memphis for his own safety after a fight with his wife.
Eventually someone showed up to sign Cropper out and deputies didn't have to make the trip to Memphis.
Daugherty said, aside from being legally blind and having heart issues like Cropper told us, he has other issues that led them to think he wouldn't be safe alone after release and, since at the time no one was willing to sign him out from jail, the plan was to take him to Memphis union Mission.
The county says they partner with the homeless shelter. Tipton County does not have a homeless shelter so the closest one to us is the Mission Union Mission.
Daugherty tells us that the homeless shelter typically works with people to get safely where they need to go. In the meantime they are able to have warm meals and guaranteed place to lay their heads.
"We sometimes carry inmates. It doesn't happen all the time, but occasionally we take them to the Memphis Union Mission," Daugherty said. "He was upset because he thought he'd be stuck there and it's an unfamiliar place."
Daugherty says there's no way Cropper would have had to Walk all the way back home to Tipton County.
"Him having to walk to his house or his family's house, he wouldn't have to do that unless he just chose to do that."