The county and Town of Ellerbe recently renewed their agreement to continue to provide the town with a constant sheriff’s office presence.
Under the agreement, Ellerbe reimburses the county for the direct cost of patrolling the town around the clock about $150,000 a year, to pay for salaries, fuel and other expenses. It runs for three years.
Commissioners approved resigning the contract at their April meeting when Clemmons expressed his support. He appeared once again last Monday night at the Ellerbe Town Council to express his support of the agreement.
“This has worked well for us, and we look forward to continuing our unique relationship with the Town of Ellerbe in the future,” Clemmons said at the county meeting last month.
Last week, Ellerbe Mayor Olivia Webb said she felt the relationship with the sheriff’s office is a positive for the town, and pointed out there is some benefit for the county also.
“One of the things Sheriff Clemmons talked about at the meeting was the fact the presence in Ellerbe actually benefits other communities in the northern part of the county, because what happens is when a call goes out from, say, Norman, they’ll send the deputy who’s in Ellerbe, because he’s closer, then send another deputy to take his place in Ellerbe,” Webb said.
Other members of the town administration agreed, and the re-approval of the contract won unanimous approval.
“It works real good, we can do it cheaper that way than we can do it ourselves,” Ellerbe Town Councilman Evon Craven commented on the agreement. He also said he was confident the town was safer because of the sheriff’s office presence.
Sheriff James Clemmons said he is hoping to use the model the department has built around maintaining a concentrated presence in Ellerbe to other towns and communities in the county.
Several communities have recently agreed to also provide facilities for the sheriff’s office to use as substations and for staging operations, including Dobbins Heights, Mangum, Hoffman, Piney Grove and the Mizpah community.
“We’re hoping we can that through our relationship with Ellerbe it will encourage other communities to reach out to us, and also offer us the opportunity to work with the citizens to help to make our communities safer together,” he said.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.