published Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Hamilton County Commissioners, magistrate get in heated discussion about jail

Two Hamilton County commissioners and Chief Magistrate Larry Ables engaged in a heated exchange this morning over a letter Ables sent to Sheriff Jim Hammond regarding staffing concerns in the booking area of the jail.

Ables said he sent a letter to Hammond Tuesday, alerting him to what appeared to be an overworked and possibly understaffed booking department.

"I see the same people every day and I'm down there for multiple shifts. It's not uncommon to see them work 16 hours," he said. "It becomes a safety concern."

Commissioner Greg Beck questioned the forum for Ables’ public criticism of Hammond.

"I'm not clearly understanding where the issue is," Beck said.

Ables said he thought he was following proper protocol by sending the letter to Hammond and copying commission Chairman Larry Henry and Security and Corrections Committee Chairman Mitch McClure.

Beck, the former Security and Corrections Committee chairman, said he had a different protocol when he was chairman.

"I instructed the chief magistrate if they had concerns to first talk to me," he said. "I would in turn take it to the chairman. Most of the time we could work it out.”

Commissioner Joe Graham asked why Ables did not go straight to the sheriff.

"You have to go through the proper channels," Graham said. "In the future, I would get all your facts straight."

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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Legend said...

Well, wouldn't a simpler solution be to stop arresting citizens for everything? Even trumped up arrests made at the officers' discretion?

Most of those jailers hang around doing nothing anyways.

August 17, 2011 at 2:36 p.m.
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