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Sheriff’s View #39 for Sept. 21 to 25, 2009
Sheriff’s View #39 for Sept. 21 to 25, 2009

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard one more time for another trip around Pulaski County with the deputies of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. I had mentioned in last week’s column that I never know what to put into the column and I had a few suggestions from readers over the past several days. I will try to add their ideas to the column.

One of those suggestions was to write more about how it feels to be the sheriff and to describe the strain and joy of the job. That suggestion was made just in time because this week I have such a topic to write about. The month of August was a severe strain. I had a total of one half-day off in the entire month. I was beginning to think the month would never end because of one problem after another. But the month of September has started out in a grand way. I have already had five whole days where I did not work. Unfortunately two of those days were to visit with the doc for a problem but the other three were great.

Sept. 1 marked the start of a three-year contract with the Advanced Correctional Healthcare Company to take over our jail. We had been transporting an inmate to a hospital emergency room at least several times a week before the contract. On Sept. 18, we had out first ER transport under the ACH plan. Only one transport trip in 18 days! Wow! We were all impressed. What a change in the way we do business. A very welcome change I might add.

Then Sept. 14 marked a personal memory for me because on that same date in 1969 I entered the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy at Rolla to begin my law enforcement career. Yes, I feel old. It has been a long time marked by a lot of crime-fighting action and mileage on the odometer. There were a number of times when I thought my number would be up in the next five seconds or so, but so far, I have walked away from all the danger. Yes, I am proud of the 40 years.

September has also been a very good month in another way. A number of grant awards have been announced for the department and our current total on the awards stands at $544,765 worth of goods and salary that will help us do the job the way it should be done. This is a very good feeling. The only drawback is waiting for the feds to send me the notice that we can begin to draw down the funds for the equipment and to hire the new employees. It seems to take the feds forever to take action. But I guess I am just like a kid on this one because a very big cookie jar is standing there just ever so close for the grab but still out of reach. The whole situation reminds me of the tee shirt with the two buzzards sitting in the tree and one buzzard says to the other, “Patience my foot, I’m going to go kill something.”

The grant awards have already prompted a number of people to warn me the coounty commissioners will try to cut my budget back next year because of my success in winning the grants. I sincerely hope these people who warned me were wrong because cutbacks are the last thing we need if we are to furnish the citizens of Pulaski County with the level of professional law enforcement service that they want, need, and expect. Cutbacks will be a very big mistake. The law enforcement needs of the citizens of Pulaski County have to be our number one priority.

We did have a minute to laugh last week. Well it was sort of a laugh. One of my reserve deputies told me about a visit he had with a friend. The friend told him that he had called the sheriff’s department to his home for a problem and the deputy left the scene on the back of a wrecker when her car would not start. The friend thought it was funny, my reserve deputy got mad, and when I heard the story I did both. It was depressing to think that this was just business as usual.

On Saturday afternoon, I did the Cow Days parade in Dixon and had the usual good time throwing candy to the kids. My arm will be sore for a week. I would like to thank the crowd in front of the reviewing stand for the loud round of cheering and applause when my name was mentioned over the PA system. However there was a dark side to the day. I suspect my candy throwing confession in the prior column may have been read by many. Rep. David Day threw candy directly behind his vehicle and just happened to bounce it off my car hood. Then several people in the crowd laughed mightily as they threw candy into my patrol car. Yes, it was a dark and stormy day. But I do appreciate the bubble gum because I did not have any gum.

The jail list on Friday had 59 names. The call for service/case number stands at 6,597 on Saturday. We have one car down for a new transmission at this time. Everything else seems to by moving along in good fashion for once. And I probably just put the official jinx on us with that statement. But until next column, please drive with care and keep your actions legal. We do not want you looking at our jail lights in action.

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