If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
The methamphetamine (meth) problem in Fayette County is growing, and Fayette County Sheriff Chris Palmer says action needs to be taken.
“The numbers show that it is plausible to assume the pandemic is at least partly to blame for an increase in several felony crimes in Fayette County,” he said.
In order to back up his statements, Palmer presented a list of indictments handed out since the onset of COVID back in March of 2020. Concerning arrests for meth since that time, about half of those numbers are in the teens, with lower numbers in obviously the winter months and August, the hottest month, from last year. While perusing the numbers presented by Palmer, with a very few minor exceptions, numbers of Meth delivery – possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, aggravated battery, felony possession of a weapon, theft or burglary, armed violence and fleeing or eluding officers – all have basically increased since the beginning of 2021.
Palmer told the Leader-Union the numbers of the arrests are “substantially more” than in the prior year.
In a written statement to the board, Palmer outlined all of the ways in which county employees have put their health and safety on the line when dealing with those arrested – whether it be in maintenance staff, inmate registration, investigating and making arrests, or direct contact in taking care of the prisoners.
Palmer explained that given the numbers and increase of drug-related offenses, he was requesting using American Rescue Plan Act funds to take a year-long, “aggressive approach to combat the obvious increased drug and weapons use post-pandemic.”
Palmer’s request included the purchase of another K-9 unit at a cost of $9,000, and all of the associated training and equipment costs associated with such a program, totaling just more than an estimated $66,200.
Palmer also requested funds for two full-time investigators through July 31, 2022, past due from March 2020 through August 1, for a total of just more than $231,000.
In his written proposal, Palmer said that the majority of overtime for the investigators, and the K-9 unit being assigned to the FBI Drug Task Force, would be paid for by the FBI. He proposed the temporary transfer of a road deputy to that of second Investigator, as well as moving the interstate patrol deputy to a road deputy position. In this shuffling of positions, Palmer estimated the county would lose $125,000 from citations, through August of next year.
If the board wished, Palmer said that he could offer overtime to full-time deputies, then to part-timers to try to recoup some of that income.