Sheriff Oldham to Examine Deputy Escort Practices

Sheriff Oldham to Examine Deputy Escort Practices

Wednesday, Shelby County Commissioners wanted answers from Sheriff Bill Oldham on deputy escorts for special events on your dime.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Wednesday, Shelby County Commissioners wanted answers from Sheriff Bill Oldham on deputy escorts for special events on your dime.

Sheriff Oldham says the department is looking over all of their policies. While he says the bombs at the Boston Marathon make security for events more important than ever, he says he knows that with a tight budget, he has to keep an eye on everything.

There is something about the badge and the uniform, not to mention the guns, that makes Commissioner Terry Roland almost swoon over the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

"Everybody in the world knows how much I care about the sheriff's department," he stated at Wednesday's meeting. All they needed were violins and candles.

Sheriff Bill Oldham is aces, as far as how some commissioners feel.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer added, "I think you are very, very good administrator and stewards of the taxpayer dollars."

The love continued when commissioners learned that the sheriff wasn't asking for more budget money.

That was great news, but it didn't stop questions about some of the department's practices, such as having a deputy in uniform handle security for University of Memphis basketball and Coach Josh Pastner - both in Memphis and on the road.

Commission Chairman Mike Ritz noted, "If the University of Memphis thinks their basketball coach needs security, then they can go pay for it."

"We are going to meet with the University of Memphis," Oldham replied. "They currently provide any travel expense, meal expense, or anything for our deputy. That doesn't cost the taxpayers anything. What we provide is a deputy and his time. And we are going to talk about reducing some of that time."

ABC 24 has shown you stories where the sheriff provides motorcycle escorts for all sorts of events, including the Carnival Memphis celebrations.

"We're looking at everything we possibly can. That's the reason we've established a special events office. We're in a situation where the funds we have to have are tight and we really have to scrutinize and we've done that," Oldham stated.

The commission can't tell the sheriff what to do or how to spend his money. Still, Sheriff Oldham says he'll look at all of his operations and see where he can save some of your money, while not putting anybody in danger.

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