County OKs jail contract

Published 12:09 am Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NATCHEZ — Adams County supervisors voted Monday to finalize a contract with the city to house Natchez Police Department inmates at the Adams County Jail.

The agreement would cost the city $30 per inmate per day. The agreement could ultimately end up saving taxpayers as the city is spending approximately $250,000 per year to operate its jail.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong has said the city only averages six inmates per day. If the average of six held true over 365 days, housing inmates at the county jail would only cost the city $65,700 per year, on average. Supervisors unanimously approved the contract after Board of Aldermen Attorney Bob Latham said, when asked, that he had incorporated Sheriff Travis Patten’s changes.

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Armstrong said he looked forward to consolidating this aspect of law enforcement with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is something that I think will benefit the whole community as well as the police department in terms of savings,” Armstrong said. “I applaud the county supervisors and the sheriff’s office for working out this agreement.”

Armstrong said many police departments around the state did not house their own pre-trial inmates any more, as was the case in Vicksburg, where he previously served as chief.

Armstrong said his officers have been trained to handle the booking process, so on the county’s end the jailers would not be required to take the pictures, obtaining finger prints, etc.

Armstrong said he was not sure on what date the contract would become effective. Armstrong said he first wanted to obtain a van. A new van would cost $22,000 to $25,000 on a state contract, and a used van might range between $15,000 to $20,000, he said.

“You can only get two inmates in the back of a car,” Armstrong said. “We would like to get a van so you could transport multiple inmates per trip as opposed to tying up several officers and vehicles.”

Patten was not present and could not be reached for comment.