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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Weaver

CCSO Gets Nod for Shelter Expansion, Audit

The more than 17,000 pieces of evidence in storage at the sheriff’s office will soon be combed through by an audit firm, and large animals seized by law enforcement will soon have a place at the county shelter.

Commissioners on Monday approved a request from Sheriff Bill Rogers to hire Blue Line Training Group to perform the first evidence audit in more than 20 years at the CCSO. The audit is expected to take three to four weeks, and cost around $45,000. A $24,000 deposit is required before the work begins. Blue Line was the lowest of three bids, Rogers said.

Two specially trained auditors will be paid $250 per hour, plus expenses, to perform the inspection and make recommendations to the CCSO on potential improvements.

“If it takes less time,” the sheriff explained, “the cost will be lower.”

Rogers said that the last evidence audit at the sheriff’s office was more than 20 years ago. Some items in the storage area go back to the 1970s.

Evidence audits are conducted to ensure materials from crimes and crime scenes are properly stored and maintained, and if any evidence is eligible or in need of being disposal.

Commissioners also approved a request to contract with H and K Hauling to clear, level and grade approximately two acres of property adjacent to the animal shelter for a large animal enclosure.

Rogers said that the sheriff’s office has seized horses and cows in different cases so far this year. In each case, the animals had to be boarded at private farms, since the county had no place for large animals. Sometimes animals must be held for months pending trial.

“This will allow our APS officers to be able to do their jobs, rather than having to call someone at 2 a.m. to see if they can come pick up a horse,” Rogers said.

The bid was for clearing the property, not construction of a shelter or fencing, Rogers said. Up to 40 feet of drain tiles will be installed after the property is bulldozed, mowed and levelled.

At least two former directors of Animal Control asked county previous county administrations for a large animal facility at the shelter. Both plans never made it past the earliest stages, although the late Rossie Hayes had a plan drawn up around 2008 that would have housed up to five horses or cows with a small barn on the property.

The longterm plan, Rogers said, is to have a facility where Animal Protective Services could store “essential items for the daily operation of the shelter” to maintain compliance with state law.

Commissioner Giles Byrd questioned the cost of the project. He said he is involved in a clearing project, and that $11,000 “for an acre is just too expensive.” However, Byrd voted with the rest of the board to approve the project.

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