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Chief, Sheriff tout advantages of consolidation

January 27, 2011

Big Spring Police Chief Lonnie Smith, left, and Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker discuss a current proposal to house both agencies in the new county jail facility Wednesday at the County Courthouse. City and county officials are expected to meet Feb. 28 to discuss the proposal. (HERALD photo/Thomas Jenkins)

As city and county officials begin looking at a consolidation of services between the Howard County Sheriff's Office and Big Spring Police Department, the entire matter could hinge on a meeting between the two governments in February.

Lonnie Smith, BSPD police chief, and Sheriff Stan Parker discussed the plans during a brief meeting Wednesday afternoon. According to Smith, the consolidation — which would have the two law enforcement agencies being housed under the same roof at the newly constructed county jail — could prove to be a financial boon to both governments, as well as an improvement in the services delivered to both Big Spring and Howard County residents.

“Two years ago the city recognized that the Police Department was in dire need of renovations or a new building, and they set aside $1.7 million for that purpose,” Smith said. “Several months ago we got together and started talking about possibly making an addition onto the new Howard County Jail that would house both the Sheriff's Office and the Police Department."

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