A September 15 Gazette article discusses concerns about police staffing shortages in Montgomery County due to police providing transportation to inmates for doctor and hospital visits.
Montgomery County operates a health care program at the jails that is considered exemplary by two national organizations, but some worry there are not enough police officers to cover the streets when they are guarding inmates at hospitals and doctors’ offices. …
“Ultimately what it’s doing is taking police officers off the road,” said Matt Frasca, a county police officer and member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 board of directors. “We only have so much staff, and a transport is taking two officers off the street.”
Overnight, eight officers often are on duty in the district, and if two are busy with a transportation call the shift is suddenly down 25 percent, Frasca said.
“It’s a concern for us, and we’re trying to work through it with the correction officials,” said the district’s Deputy Commander Lt. Dom Fazio. …
Decisions regarding when an inmate needs immediate medical care or a medical test should be left to a health care professional and not a correctional deputy or warden, [Director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Art] Wallenstein said.
As much of the health care as possible is provided inside the jail to reduce transportation costs and time for sheriff’s deputies and police officers, he said.