State law allows a sheriff to collect the fee from bail bondsmen for each charge, Arnold explained to some 60 bondsmen during a meeting this week at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center. The funds are projected to bring in 60-to-70-thousand dollars for the calendar year.
Some bondsmen asked Arnold if the fees would pay for more staff in the overcrowded booking room. One bondsman told Arnold he's waited up to five hours to bond out a prisoner. The sheriff explained he asked for two more booking deputies in his 2011-12 budget but the positions weren't funded because of lack of funds. He researched Tennessee law and found the 2002 law allowing sheriff's to collect the fees, which will be turned over to the county budget. He hopes the County Commission will allow him to use the funds to pay for more booking deputies and to upgrade the computer system.