Local sheriff sues his own county over funds for public safety

Hardeman Co. Sheriff files lawsuit to get more funding

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -More than a half a dozen Hardeman county sheriff patrol cars are out of commission due to maintenance issues, but Sheriff John Doolen says there is no money in the budget to the fix them.

Sheriff Doolen’s attorney Roy Herron says his client’s hands are tied and he was forced to file this lawsuit Tuesday against the county.

“He doesn't want to file this lawsuit, but he knows the people of Hardeman County deserves an adequately funded and adequately staffed sheriff's department,” said Herron.

Herron says maintenance costs isn't the only issue.

The County doesn't have enough Deputies on patrol. Herron says the county needs to hire an additional 7 deputies to meet the minimum state average for a county of this size. The lawsuit says... "Overtime and paid leave have accumulated to the point that it is difficult or impossible for officers to take earned time off without leaving the department short-handed and the county in danger.

“And so what you've got is too few deputies, patrolling too many miles and not able to cover the territory like the citizens deserve,” said Herron.

According to the lawsuit, nearly $300,000 has been cut from the Sheriff’s office budget over the past 2 years.

Herron says during the last fiscal year the Mayor of Hardeman county refused to pay essential expenses such as gas for patrol cars.

Herron also says attrition is high with low salaries not competitive with surrounding areas.

The lawsuit also covers the Hardeman County Jail staff as well. Herron says they have similar complaints as Sheriff deputies with low pay and high attrition rates.

Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain released the following statement Thursday:

“In response to Attorney Herron’s release and news interview concerning the Hardeman County Sheriff’s suit against the County, let me say that I am disappointed and it is a shame for an attorney to use the old scare tactic of falsifying and twisting information to persuade citizens to buy in to his side of a political matter. This is the second time in three years the Sheriff has filed a suit against the County he serves, with the first one being dismissed prior to court date. Every statement reported is false and Hardeman County looks forward to defending the citizens in a court of law.”

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