By Ray King

Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said Tuesday that he was able to keep deputies who work in enforcement and in the jails working full-time while shifting some other employees to less-than full-time because of revenue shortfalls in the county.

Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show, Woods said he opposed the furloughs that County Judge Gerald Robinson had proposed and had hoped that his department would have been exempt from any budget cuts because of its constitutional mandate. However, he said the shared work program the office  adopted,  and was approved by Robinson, will allow him to “fulfill the obligations I have constitutionally to the voters and citizens in Jefferson County.”

Because Of COVID-19, Woods said the jail adopted policies to reduce the number of detainees and lock up only those that had to be locked up.

For most other offenses, individuals were given a citation and released, not only by deputies but by other law enforcement agencies in the county.

“We also encouraged our law enforcement partners to do the same thing and they have worked well with us,” Woods said.

He was also asked about the string of homicides in Pine Bluff at the end of March and into April.

Woods said there are ways that citizens can provide information to law enforcement without identifying themselves and he hopes they use those methods because fighting crime is not just a law enforcement issue but also a community issue.