Georgia Sheriffs Filling Budget Gaps With Senior Volunteers


Around Atlanta, sheriffs’ offices increasingly are turning to senior citizen volunteers to fill gaps left by hiring freezes and budget cuts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office has had a volunteer program made up mostly of retirees since 1996. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office implemented the Thomas Brown Senior Volunteer Program in 2007. Its 14 members provide 90 hours of manpower per month — the equivalent of $1,754 in cost savings.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said he came up with the idea to start recruiting senior citizen volunteers as he looked for ways to save money and improve service. Only one person has signed up so far. The department is waiting to get four or five volunteers before moving forward with mandatory background checks and orientation. The volunteers will wear ID badges and special shirts so they are easily identifiable. They will not work directly with the inmate population for safety reasons.Conway wants to put seniors to work answering phone calls or monitoring inmates’ telephone conversations at the jail for security threats. “We’ve got a huge senior population in Gwinnett that have talents that aren’t being utilized,” Conway said.

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