The Camden County Board of Commissioners is aware of a controversial video purportedly taken inside the Camden County Jail that was circulated on several news and social media outlets on November 11, 2022. The video appears to show a physical altercation between an inmate and corrections officers from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. This is a serious matter which deserves investigation and attention. It is important to note, however, that the Camden County Board of Commissioners does not have jurisdiction or control over actions occurring inside the jail. That responsibility resides with the Camden County Sheriff, a Georgia Constitutional officer elected by the voters of Camden County.
The Georgia Constitution addresses the issue of county governance by allocating power between Boards of Commissioners and county-level constitutional officers, including the County Sheriff. In the structure of Georgia county governments, the office of Sheriff has the distinction of being not simply another department. Because the office of Sheriff is a constitutional one, its internal operations are the sole responsibility of the Sheriff, and the Sheriff is not subordinate to the Board of Commissioners or the County Administrator. These elected officials manage their own offices and may or may not adopt and adhere to policies established by the Board of Commissioners.
Because of this allocation of powers, the Board of Commissioners does not have the authority to set the terms of employment, including discipline, for jailers and deputies of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. A county commission is, by Georgia law, simply responsible for preparing a comprehensive, balanced county budget that includes reasonable funding for the other county elected officials, like the Camden County Sheriff, to perform their statutory duties.
Concerns with employees of the Camden County Jail should be addressed to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.