DEAR EDITOR:

Once again, I write to you and the readers to clear up some misstatements by those that don’t understand the implications of their words.

In this week’s “Around Town” column, Marietta Councilman Reggie Copeland made reference to deaths in the jail. In reality six inmates have died this year. Of those six, one was a suicide who actually physically passed in the jail. The remaining passed in local medical facilities while under the best care available to them paid for by the taxpayers.

As I have stated before, all deaths are tragic and I take them very personally as does our staff. The sad reality is that many of our inmates come to us with pre-existing health problems that they may not even be aware of. Their health could have been affected by their lifestyle, their possible use of highly addictive drugs and an overall avoidance of the medical profession for reasons only they know.

We have partnered with WellStar Medical System for years and we will continue to provide the health care to include mental, physical and dental, etc., that these folks need when they come into our custody. It is our constitutional duty and each year thousands of hours are spent transporting inmates to medical facilities for regular and emergency health care. This has not and will not change.

What must change is the rhetoric and false statements surrounding these sad situations in order to inflame the public for either financial or political gain. As sheriff, I have very little latitude left to me for public comment, I must always wait for the final medical examiners report, our own internal investigations and possible litigation. Because of this, the fine people of this agency must endure public scrutiny and accusations as they come to work each day in an ever increasingly dangerous job. I ask that we all speak “just the facts” and let those be the words of record, not baseless accusations.

Neil Warren

Cobb County sheriff

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