BY LEN WELLS

After sharing headquarters for 46 years, the Carmi City Police Department and White County Sheriff's Department are preparing for a split.  The plan was announced during last Tuesday's meeting of the Carmi City Council when Chief Jason Carter announced there just wasn't enough room for both agencies under the same roof.  Additionally, Carter said the city-county arrangement made back in 1975 is not in the best financial interest of the City. 

Chief Carter made it clear that the proposed split had nothing to do with any issues between the two  departments, adding that the two agencies work closely with each other.  The fact is, Carter stated, there literally isn't enough room for both departments to work efficiently.  It was noted that when the city-county arrangement was formed, there were no computers and a fewer officers.  Currently, the Sheriff's Department has seven officers with ten officers on the City force.

Sheriff Randy Graves also spoke at the council meeting, reiterating the fact that plans to divide the two departments have nothing to do with problems between the two agencies. Sheriff Graves simply noted how cramped the headquarters are and how there is simply no way to expand the facility.  

Under the current City-County arrangement, each agency pays for half of all expenses, including dispatching and jail operations.  Under the proposed split, the Sheriff's Department would continue all dispatch services with the City Police Department paying its proportionate share of the cost based upon the percentage of City calls vs County calls. As an example, the 2020 total cost of White County dispatch was $489,000, which reflected a 6% increase over the year before. The Carmi Police percentage of the calls was 50%, which – under the proposed plan – would have been $244,500.  Instead, the City paid a total of $327,742 - $88,242 more based upon the volume of calls.

“Since 2015, the City of Carmi has paid $1,462,108 more to...

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