Sheriff clarifies jail policy on ‘drunk in public’ arrests

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—Sheriff Patrick McCranie last week disputed claims that the county jail is suddenly refusing to take individuals arrested for public drunkenness without a medical clearance from the hospital.

“Not so,” Sheriff McCranie said.

The issue came up at last week’s Kilmarnock town council meeting when police chief Mike Bedell said the Lancaster sheriff’s department is “refusing a (drunk) prisoner without a medical release from RGH.”

As a result, Bedell was examining costs and options for transporting prisoners to the regional jails in Warsaw and Saluda.

The concern is that a police officer would be tied up at the hospital requiring another officer to be called for duty.

Sheriff McCranie said the department policy hasn’t changed in over 30 years and that the medical clearance only applies to extreme cases where an individual’s health is at risk…

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