Sheriff Johnny Moats

Sheriff Johnny Moats presented his office's numbers of warrants served, transports made and more during the Polk County Commission's work session last week. (Kevin Myrick/SJ)

  • The sheriff cites the frequency of repeated transporting prisoners as a high cost factor he hopes to reduce.

Sheriff Johnny Moats is hoping that a problem he wants to solve involving prisoner transports to court will end with a solution that saves not only his deputies time, but taxpayer money as well.

During his report to the county commission about his department’s work complete during 2017, Moats cited one particular figure he wants to try to decrease: the number of trips his deputies take outside of Polk County to transport prisoners.

Moats reported that he pairs of deputies to transport prisoners 119 times within a 50 mile radius of Polk County, and an additional 131 trips totaling in just more than 5,500 miles traveled between the Polk and Floyd County jails.

The trips that took more time for deputies to complete during the calendar year, and the ones that he hopes the courts will work with him to reduce, are the number of times that deputies had to travel to prisons outside of Polk County for those who aren’t bussed with other inmates to and from facilities.

He cited 15 trips in his report, totaling up 6,107 miles traveled across the state utilizing 27 deputies and 233 man hours of time.

“And what will end up happening is that we’ll go and pick up prisoners for court, but then the court won’t ever get to their case and we have to transport them back to prison,” he said.

Several of those trips have been as far south as the Georgia-Florida border and back to Polk County, Moats said.

Dodd said he had previously scheduled a meeting with court officials about solving the problem by working out the scheduling to allow for more prisoners to be carried to and from facilities with less trips back and forth to court, but that meeting was postponed due to the winter weather in January.

His hopes are that whatever plan is worked out between his office and the courts, it will reduce the amount of time his deputies spend on the road overall.

Sheriff’s deputies put 35,563 miles total for the year, which included more than 6,600 miles driven alone just to serve warrants in other counties, along with an additional 9,419 miles driven for mental transport trips.

Moats also talked about one positive program his deputies and officers from other agencies are racking up mileage within the county. The PCSO’s “Are You Ok?” program serves several dozen seniors locally and daily checks on their condition with an automated calling system, which then sends information about those who haven’t responded to calls for deputies to check on those participants.

Applications can be picked up at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone who can’t get to the office to pick up the form can call Moats on his office line at 770-749-2931