Lone Grove city councilors took preemptive action Monday after learning from City Manager Ian O’Neal of the reported plan by the town of Wilson to relocate jail and dispatch services to Carter County.
O’Neal relayed information garnered from reports in the Wilson Eagle, and from conversations with Wilson Mayor Frank Schaaf about the town’s plan to relocate the services. O’Neal said his office had not yet been notified directly in writing of the decision.
Lone Grove council members approved a motion to terminate the city’s contract at the end of the current term, which ends in June.
Schaaf confirmed Wilson’s decision to withdraw from the service, citing the department’s handling of an inmate death, the total cost and an ability to reduce response times on calls that are currently routed through the Carter County Sheriff’s dispatch office through Lone Grove.
“We didn’t like the way the investigation was handled with the death in the jail,” Schaff said. “The investigation had just begun and the video of the incident was already released.”
The incident refers to the Dec. 11 death of Scott Lee Pumphrey who died in custody after allegedly attempting to escape while swallowing a plastic bag containing an unknown substance.
 Schaaf said the move could save the town upwards of $10,000 a year. The contract with Lone Grove costs Wilson about $25,000 a year and, according to Schaaf, CCSD will handle dispatch services at no cost, while charging $27 a day per inmate detained.
Wilson is the second community to relocate its jail and dispatch services to CCSD, following Healdton’s move in 2017.
O’Neal said the move is expected to have a detrimental impact to the financial standing of the department but isn’t expected to impact services or staffing.
“Any time you lose money, you’re going to feel it, but it’s not a back-breaker,” O’Neal said. “Any time you lose money to your city, it’s not good, especially in a small town we don’t have a lot of money anyway.”