Welcome aboard one more time for another visit with the employees of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.
October? When did October get here? We just finished the budget battle of year 2009 yesterday, so how can October be here this quick? But it does appear to be here so that means the budget battle of 2010 starts soon. I have not seen any new source of revenue for Pulaski County in 2009 so that will mean the budget for 2010 is in trouble before we even start thinking about the budget.
As we wind down to the end of 2009, it appears so far that other than the inmate medical payments we will be in fairly good shape for this year, but we still have a few months to go for payments so it might be a shade early to start making solid predictions. Like I have said before, it’s your money and you might like to know how it is spent.
At this time, I think all cars are up and running. We have been in the low sixties this past week on the total inmate count. Our current case number/calls for service count stands at 6,748. We are having a good year so far in this area.
The employees who are working the Shop with a Cop program this year have come up with a fundraiser that sounds like it will be similar to the “arrest” program used by the Muscular Dystrophy Association each year. You can turn in your boss, spouse, friend, or whoever to be arrested and taken away to a real jail for only $30, but you also probably need to get them back so the bond is set at $30 per person. Naturally this is a “volunteer” program and the proceeds go for a very good cause. I am sure there will be more info put out in the media as we get closer to the Oct. 16 date for the event. I know they are also working on an idea for a circus, but no details have been given to me at this time.
On Saturday of this week, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office did a weapon qualification day on the range. We managed to get about half of our deputies to the range on this date. We will of course have a second range date soon. When you work the 24/7/365 shifts it is hard to get 100 percent of your employees at any given location at the same time. Despite the rain on our heads, the qualification went well. I even managed to qualify with all firearms. And unlike the police chief who made the news a few weeks ago, I did not shoot any of my deputies while I was on the range. Come to think of it, none of my deputies shot me on the range, so we did have a good day.
We have received a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanting an explanation why our “crimes against property” numbers have jumped very sharply in 2009 over our numbers from 2008. We are working on a reply and I suspect when we get all the answers that this might make a good column topic or maybe even a news release. The FBI supervises the Uniform Crime Reports that are required data submissions for all police agencies in the United States and they do keep a close watch on the numbers. I will update this topic when I have additional information.
I had a reader ask a rather involved question this past week that I will try to answer with the short version. The question was, “since I frequently mention POST training in my column, then what exactly is POST?”
POST is short for Peace Officer Standard Training. Under current Missouri law (Chapter 590 RSMO), a person cannot be a city police officer, county deputy sheriff or state trooper unless they are POST certified. The real short answer here is that to obtain a POST license a person must graduate from an approved police training academy such as the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy that is located here in Waynesville. We are talking 640 to 700 hours of training. Then, once you have graduated, you must acquire 48 hours of additional approved training in each three-year block of time after your academy graduation. The end result is a much higher standard of all around training across the state for law enforcement officers.
Should you be a bad person and fail to obtain the required training your license is suspended until you complete the missed training hours. If you fail the training class or fail to complete the class within the set time limits, your license can be suspended or revoked depending on the totality of the circumstances. Under current Missouri law, it is a criminal violation for a person to possess or obtain a commission as an officer without being POST certified. It is also a criminal violation for a police chief or sheriff to grant such a commission to a person who does not have a POST license. I think you can all see that the word POST has special meaning to Missouri peace officers.
I believe that I have written my way through another column. I would once again ask that all of you drive with care; we have had way too many vehicle accidents of late. I would also ask that you keep your actions legal because we do not want your body in our jail. But as I have said before, if you just have to visit us, the lights will be on.