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Monday, October 10, 2011 - 11:31am

County Considers Inmate Firefighters

Camden County is considering using state prisoners as firefighters.

The plan would put two state inmates into up to five county fire stations, doubling the number of firefighters per station. County officials say it could save hundreds of thousands of budget dollars with unpaid inmates filling otherwise paid shifts.

They also say the extra manpower could improve the county’s insurance rating.

Camden County commissioner Jimmy Starline says only inmates who’ve committed low level crimes would be eligible, and they’d get full firefighter training. And there would be training for the current firefighters too.

“The career fireman would be trained to state standards to be a guard for these prisoners. Each career fireman would be allowed to supervise three inmates.”

Starline has already heard criticism from some firefighters who say the plan would jeopardize employees—and citizens’—well being.

He says southwest Georgia’s Sumter County also has a similar program in place.

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