FAIRFIELD, Ala. (WBRC) - We're learning more about the contract between the city of Fairfield and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office that hands over public safety to the county.
A public safety town hall in Fairfield Tuesday drew several dozen neighbors all concerned with how much money the partnership with JCSO is going to cost.
After several people asked about financials, neighbor Regina McWilliams stood up and said she felt like city leaders were trying to “pull the wool over our eyes.”
“It seems like y’all don’t want to give us the real cost,” said McWilliams. “It matters because the money has to come from somewhere.”
Mayor Eddie Penny did not directly answer McWilliams’ question, but said the city spends $1 million a year on the current police force; that figure covers salaries, benefits and equipment.
Penny would not say whether the city is paying the JCSO more or less than $1 million but said the contract is still in progress, even though deputies began patrolling the municipality Saturday.
As for the partnership, which officially began on October 5, Sheriff Mark Pettway said he was excited and that the program was already working.
“Since we began, we received 116 calls, made four arrests and recovered a stolen gun and a stolen vehicle,” said Pettway.
Pettway says Fairfield will always have coverage and there will be eight dedicated deputies working 12-hour shifts.
Residents will dial 911 as usual and their call will route to the JCSO. The city of Fairfield will maintain a reduced police force.
The contract with the JCSO is effective for a term of one year. After that time, Fairfield will have the option to renew or cancel the deal.
Mayor Penny said the ultimate goal is to eventually regain a full city funded police force.