Yes, the jail contract has significantly increased federal prisoners. Yes, that has led to much more work for the sheriff’s office. But there’s nothing he can do, Edwards says.
“I don’t run his budget,” Edwards says. “I don’t have the authority to provide him more deputies.”
Edwards says he has no objection to Betts’ office being compensated for its additional work transporting federal prisoners.
“The city does not stand in the way of the sheriff,” Edwards says.
That’s not how Betts sees it. Ever since he won an election and took over for former Sheriff Jim Murphy, the judges have been battling with him to try to take over authority for security of the courthouses. His budget has been slashed. He has 160 deputies now, where under Murphy, judges used to insist on at least 175. And when the Missouri Legislature passed a law allowing his deputies to become POST certified — they are the only deputies in the state who lack that certification — city leaders denied his request for funding to train his deputies.
So Betts is trying to force the issue. Edwards says if the contract gets canceled, he’ll try to make do with city marshals and police officers.