Chatham Co. Sheriff Addresses Issues

Chatham County Sheriff, Al St. Lawrence released a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the recent activity at the detention center.

He says in part: “I have seen Chatham County Detention Center grow from a small, local lock up facility to one of the largest detention centers in the State.  The detention center has the capacity to hold 2360 inmates with accompanying medical wing and other necessary departments to carry out the legally required functions of the Sheriff.

Chief Lawrence goes on to say its his job to review and root out problems that may exist.

“As you are aware, there was recent death in the detention center which led to an intense investigation that has resulted in a thorough review of the detention center’s procedures.  On May 8th, I announced that 9 deputies had been terminated.  Additionally, one other Lieutenant chose to resign. ”  

And now he’s seeking outside help.

In addition to the steps previously taken, I now announce my intention to bring in an outside independent consulting team to review operational procedures from top to bottom.  This review and its ensuing recommendations will be designed to improve functionality and accountability within the detention center. Although by law the operation of the detention center is the sheriff’s responsibility, I have requested assistance from the County Commissions in funding this endeavor. Further, I announced the retirement of Col. Thomas Gilberg as Detention Center administrator and have appointed Assistant Jail Administrator Melissa Kohne as the acting administrator reporting directly to Chief Deputy Roy Harris.  I have instructed Chief Deputy Roy Harris, with whom I have complete confidence, to coordinate with the consultants and the acting administrator to address challenges and overcome all obstacles to ensure the public will have only the finest professionally operated detention facility.” 

But he says we wont see results from these changes overnight.

The institution of these actions will not address all issues in a day, or even a week.  However, changes as necessary will be approached in a methodical manner to ensure citizens that the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve the community in accordance to the high professional standards I expect.

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