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King George County got an 'exceptional deal' on its new Sheriff's Office, but the project has been plagued by construction delays
The new King George County Sheriff's Office is nearing completion and is now expected to open on July 1.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Currently, workers with the Sheriff's Office take up about 2,000 square feet of space in the county courthouse. One detective has an office in the county administration building, and members of the narcotics task force work out of a building on the Navy base at Dahlgren, Dempsey said.
The department also stores equipment at the Ralph Bunche school.
All employees will move to the new Sheriff's Office, as will the storage and gym equipment from Ralph Bunche.
"The instructions we received were to build a building that will facilitate the county for at least 20 years," Dempsey said. "There's room to grow, but no one could walk through it and say there's any wasted space. The space is well-utilized and planned for."
NICE FACILITIES, NO STAFF
Supervisor Ruby Brabo said she's heard from residents concerned "that the new facility appears to be exorbitant." She said they also questioned why so much was invested in the Sheriff's Office when the fire-and-rescue operation has critical shortages.
At a town-hall meeting Brabo hosted in April, county fire-and-rescue officials said King George needs at least 10 more full-time workers to man its stations around the clock.
Brabo led an effort to hire three more fire-and-rescue workers, which would have added another penny to the tax rate. That effort failed when LoBuglio changed his mind and said he couldn't support any tax increase.
The county's inability to hire more staff concerns Koontz Campbell, a resident who spoke at Brabo's meeting and before the supervisors recently. She pointed out the county couldn't afford to upgrade two animal-control officers from part- to full-time status to help at the new Animal Pound, which opened in the summer of 2010. The county also didn't fund additional aides needed at L.E. Smoot Memorial Library, which is undergoing an expansion that will double its size.
"One of my biggest concerns is we're shoveling money like crazy into facilities, and we're not staffing them," Campbell said. "Facilities are nice and you need them, but without the staff, you're just wasting money."
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425