MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Etowah County Sheriff used nearly $750,000 in money earmarked for feeding prisoners in jail to purchase a beach house. The ironic thing here is he has committed no crime.
That's right, no laws were broken.
There is a state law which allows sheriff's to use any surplus moneys not spent each year to feed prisoners, these monies can go directly into the sheriff's bank account. The law that allows this to happen was enacted in the early 1940's.
Now, I am not saying we need to be feeding prisoners steak dinners every day, but if they are being fed nutritional meals and there is money left over these funds should not be allowed to go into the sheriff's pockets. This sheriff in question has an annual paycheck around $93,000. Add $250,000 of the money not spent on food each year for the past three years means this sheriff is bringing home around $343,000.
And yet, we struggle to hire prison guards because the pay we offer is not as competitive to similar jobs. Might I suggest that our legislators take a hard look at this and make an effort to amend the law or repeal it?
Even though this practice is legal, where is the moral compass of the sheriff. At best he should have doled some of these funds to his department or even some charities.
Why not share the wealth with the men and women who are out there every day risking their lives to protect citizens and those who ultimately pay for this surplus.