Welcome aboard for another YEAR of news and information of concern to the public and the members of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. I would love to have a brand new year where we have nothing but good news to report in every column. Unfortunately I do not think it will work that way, but once again I will promise to give you all the news, the good, the bad, and the ugly, as it affects our operations. In other words, no change from the way I have done the column for the past five years.
I would like to start out this column with a huge word of thanks from the road deputies to the members of the Grace Covenant Christian Center. As many of you will remember, the folks at Grace Covenant host a celebration each year on spook night in October and the proceeds are given to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. In the past, we have purchased ballistic vests for the troops, new equipment and many other items for the road deputies’ use. This year, we used the donation to buy very warm and waterproof coats for each road deputy. As luck would have it, the coats were delivered on Christmas Eve right along with the lovely blast of cold air from way up north. We issued them immediately and a bunch of road deputies went slightly nuts over the new coats.
As a bonus, each coat came with a reflective lime green safety vest to wear at accident scenes so they will help save us two ways. Since our deputies are constantly backing up our local troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol at accident scenes here in Pulaski County, the safety vest is an important piece of equipment. Many of you, I am sure, did not hear the news that on Christmas Day, Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, 49, a state trooper working out of Troop C was struck by a vehicle at an accident scene near Eureaka, and died as a result of the impact. Engelhard was walking back to his car to get something from the trunk and the driver of an SUV lost control of the vehicle and hit him. The new safety vests we now have courtesy of the folks at Grace Covenant may help to save one of us someday in the future.
I would like to give my personal thank you and as a department OUR huge thank you from the members of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office to the folks at the Grace Covenant Christian Center.
I will part with one last bit of info on the coats. Since the coats have the special waterproof lining inside the coats, we will not be sewing on patches and such to these new coats. Instead, they come with a special pull-down panel on the front and rear that say “sheriff” and we will rely on those panels for our identification.
In other news, we continue to work on the wrecked car we recently purchased. The cold weather has slowed down my special “car body work deputies” since they do not have a really good place to work on the cars, but we will keep plugging along. We are also still gathering budget figures and I have no real news to report on that issue.
We have opened up another way for our deputies to obtain the law enforcement training they need each year. We have signed on with an internet based company that produces Missouri POST approved training videos. The deputies have told me that the videos were pretty good and on the afternoon of Dec. 24, I sat down at the PC to take the first course. Each course lasts approximately one hour. Before I continue this story, I should mention that on Dec. 24 the Pulaski County Courthouse closed at noon. I tried the training in the afternoon after the courthouse was closed. Prior to the training for about three hours my office phone and cell phone had not rung a single time, but the second I sat down to view the training segments (with a test after each segment) both of the phones went crazy. I had 12 calls in the hour it took to complete the video. I am not sure how I managed to pass the tests due to all the interruptions but I did pass. And yes, as soon as I logged off the training site, my phones stopped ringing for several more hours.
I found the videos to be a pretty good training tool and look forward to the other videos the company has produced.
On Saturday, I assisted the Pulaski County Collector, Terri Mitchell, as she opened her office for a special weekend payment opportunity for taxpayers who could not get to the courthouse during normal business hours. I would love to say we were busy, but the truth is that we only had a handful of people take advantage of this special day.
Once again I have reached the end of a column. Please drive with care and please keep your actions legal. We are off and running on the jail bills for another year and I would like to keep the cost down so stay away from our jail, but if you just have to visit us you will find the lights are on.