Charleston Mayor and Sheriff debate future of James Island enforcement

If James Island becomes its own town which law enforcement agency would responsible for the town. It's a question Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is posing to tax payers.

"For the residents of James island in the new town to assume that they will get free police protection and not have to be taxed for it it's just not true," said Riley.

Mayor Riley said in a press release supporters of James Island should know when comparing the future budget of James Island to other towns their size, those towns have their own police department. Mayor Riley said it's only a matter of time before county tax payers ask county council and the sheriff if it's fair for the town not to pay for their own law enforcement.

"When you become a city you have to do things a city does and that's provide police protection or contract for it. It would be a very costly mater for the town of James Island," said Riley.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said it would be a waste of tax payer dollars for the new town to have their own police department.

"In 2012 given the economic situation what are people complaining about not just the cost of government but the efficiency of government," said Cannon.

Cannon said his department could absorb agencies already there and provide law enforcement services to James island residents.

"I will go with Mayor Riley to county council to talk about picking up the area of the city that's in James island and we'll provide police services," said Cannon.

Mayor Riley said that's not an option.

"Were not about to give up any of our responsibilities to provide high quality police service to the residents of the city of Charleston on James Island.

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