Closing of Lake City jail to save taxpayers $140K - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Closing of Lake City jail to save taxpayers $140K

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) – City leaders are closing the Lake City jail to save $140,000.

“Lake City residents are also members of Florence County,” said Shawn Bell, Administrator of the City of Lake City. “They not only pay city taxes, but they pay county taxes. They are really paying for two jails.”

Bell said if the jail had continued to operate, more money would have had to go toward making repairs to the facility.

The jail was in need of new toilets and sinks.

City leaders said closing the doors gets rid of redundancy in police operations.

“For whatever reasons, a lot of our citizens, instead of calling 911 for emergencies, they were calling our police department,” Bell said.

According to city leaders, Lake City dispatchers had to take down the caller's emergency on paper and then call Florence County 911 dispatch, so that an officer could be sent to the caller.

When the jail closes, three of those Lake City dispatch positions will be eliminated, but one will be kept.

The city said it has helped those dispatchers find new work.

In total, running the jail, coupled with those four dispatchers, cost the city $170,000 a year.

After the jail closes July 1, the city will use the money it saved to invest back into the police force.

“We have about $140,000 that will be saved every year. What we did is take that $140,000 and will be hiring to new police officers,” said Bell.

In addition those new officers, the city is buying 20 body cameras for the force.

The hope is to have those cameras purchased by the end of July.

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