Commonwealth Journal

News Live

May 27, 2014

Sheriff’s office response in question

Chief deputy said units would not assist cities — then rescinded order

Somerset —

To respond or not to respond.
That seems to be the question at the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office these days.
Late last week, dispatchers at the Pulaski 911 Center were informed that the sheriff’s department would no longer be responding to “non-emergency” calls located in Ferguson, Burnside, Science Hill and Eubank.
“PCSO will only respond to the cities of: Burnside, Eubank, Ferguson and Science Hill if it is an emergency call,” states a handwritten note, taken down on Friday, May 24 by a dispatcher. “If you are unsure if it is an emergency -- check with PCSO.”
The memo is sent from 11-02 — a badge number attributed to Chief Deputy Larry Wesley, with the sheriff’s department — down to badge number 11-15. 
Then yesterday, just as chiefs from the smaller Pulaski municipalities entered into an agreement with the Somerset Police Department assuring their citizens of added protection, the sheriff’s office did an about-face and rescinded that order, saying deputies would respond as they always have.
“I don’t understand why they would tell dispatch (they were not going to respond), and not tell the chiefs,” said jailer-elect David Moss, currently the Ferguson Police Chief. “I was stunned. What if one of us would have responded to a dangerous situation expecting back-up and no one was there? One of us could have gotten hurt, or worse yet, a citizen could have gotten hurt because we couldn’t handle what was going on without back-up.”
Moss found out about the decision Monday night from a dispatcher. Moss was called late that night about a domestic disturbance that involved a man with a knife.
“I asked if a county unit was in the area and (the dispatcher) informed me they were no longer responding to non-emergency calls in Ferguson,” Moss said. “I asked for back-up from Somerset Police and had two officers back me up. When I got to the scene I had nine adults in two houses and one subject with a knife. That’s not an emergency?”

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