Battle over Jeffco cuts continues in court

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale spent Friday in court fighting for funding after a stunning turn of events.

Hale wants to restore five million dollars that the Jefferson County Commission cut from his budget. They claim they had no choice due to the funding crisis the commission is in. Hale says it is a matter of public safety and that he was blindsided by the immediate cuts as soon as the restraining order was lifted.

In the past, Hale has said these cuts could possibly wipe out the entire patrol division. Now he is saying that around 100 personnel will be let go and that the cuts will make a big blow to public safety.

Captain Cleveland Moore, who oversees the Bessemer Division of the Sheriff's Department, testified that cuts would be a threat to public safety.

The Captain for the Birmingham Division, Byron Jackson also testified that the Sheriff's Department needed to patrol areas without a means of law enforcement.

Attorneys for Jefferson County say the County has the legal authority to make these cuts due to the financial crisis and say the Sheriff's Department already has too many deputies. Attorneys for the County also questioned why the Sheriff's Department routinely patrols areas with police departments.

This court case will continue on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. and into Monday if necessary. The judge in the case wants a decision before Tuesday, when the County Commission will make cuts.