County assigns deputy to DSS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

JACKSON – In Monday’s meeting, Northampton County Commissioners approved the hire of a specialized deputy sheriff to serve in the various programs offered through the Department of Social Services (DSS).

The function of the DSS Deputy Sheriff would be to provide general security services to the department, as needed and in emergency situations requiring the presence of law enforcement officials, calling for back up, when necessary.

The DSS Deputy Sheriff would be primarily responsible for assisting the Child Support Unit with serving, explaining, and enforcing legal decrees via court decisions in regard to non-custodial parents and child support payments.

Duties of the officer would include attempting to locate missing parents through thorough investigative means, appearing in court to testify, when needed, and recording details pertaining to each case.

The DSS Deputy Sheriff would also assist in the Family and Children’s Service Unit, providing DSS officials with escorts in volatile or potentially dangerous situations ensuring the safety and protection of social workers in the event of the removal of minors from the home, while offering similar assistance to Adult Services social workers including the potential transport of a client to local facilities.

According to the financial analysis for hiring the deputy, the cost to the county would be $31,256 excluding $24,000 for an additional police car, completely equipped, a cost that would translate into approximately 34 percent excluding the potential offset of costs having a deputy in Child Support Enforcement

Facts on the decision paper pointed to the need for the security of law enforcement in assisting DSS, as it maintains 40-50 federal and state human service programs. The deputy, would serve under the authority of the Sheriff’s office and would be monitored by and receive daily work assignments from a DSS coordinator at an on-site duty station, allowing for one-point of contact for assignment and documentation of time, ensuring maximum reimbursement to the county.

Currently, from the 66 percent (approximately $31,400) of federal revenue the county claims per year, $47,634 through the indirect cost plan for services received from the sheriff’s office, making the argument that the amount claimed through the indirect cost plan would likely increase leading to more monthly federal revenue, increased collections and incentive payments with the possibility of transferring part of the funds to the sheriff’s budget to offset the cost of the deputy.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins recommended that a surplus vehicle be utilized &uot;until a new car could be budgeted in the Capital Improvement Plan process.&uot;