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Sheriff’s View #29 for July 12 to 16, 2010
Sheriff’s View #29 for July 12 to 16, 2010

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard one more time. I promise that I will try to control my sense of humor for this column. I will also try to give you a nice column of news, but that might be a little hard to do today. I seem to have a severe case of writers block right now and I think we are in trouble.

The recent cool snap seems to have slowed down business for us in a nice way. We have not had any really serious cases but we have had a bunch of thefts and burglaries. We have solved several cases of late and have a few more on the verge of making the news as solved.

I have said this before but I am going to repeat it again. I make many references to the fact that the budget controls what we can do in many ways. Our low deputy count, when contrasted with our high crime count means that the two to three deputies on duty at any given time are always rushing to a new case. They may leave a case they have just started working on to rush to another. It seems that very frequently we are working a burglary case, just got on scene and barely started, when suddenly we get an assault in progress. We will respond to the assault as a priority call and leave the property crime for follow up later.

I realize that if the burglary was at your home then it is the most important crime scene in Pulaski County and needs to be solved PDQ. The guy who just got his head bashed in on the other side of the county might well disagree with you. As the sheriff, I believe we should have sufficient manpower to take on both cases at once, but that is not the way it works around these parts. Law enforcement on the county level has a very low priority. Remember that over the past six years we have yet to be given a single penny in the budget to purchase a patrol vehicle. We need cars to get to the burglary and the assault call. This is not a whine on my part; this is telling you how it works in Pulaski County. If you do not like the facts, then feel free to work toward a solution.

In other news, I have spent most of my past ten days grinding out federal grant reports for the second quarter and the six month mark for 2010. So far, I have completed two and have started on two others. The bad news is that one big grant report has been denied by the feds and I cannot figure out what seems to be the problem. I suspect I will need several more hours of work to finish up the grant reports.

On my way to work this morning I found Maj. Tom Cristoffer out driving his soon-to-be new car. The frame and body work has been completed. The brakes, shocks, tires, and so forth have all been checked and he is working on the installation of the emergency lights and radios this weekend. Within a few more days, he will have the car on line for duty. The really good news is that the body work repair bills have been several hundred dollars lower than we expected. Since the County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund Board of Directors bought the wrecked car for us, all we have to cover are the repair bills. Right now we are on track to add a 2007 Ford with less than 43,000 miles for a really low dollar amount.

This past week, I was given the six-month expense report for my budget and the various funds that I control. Due to my efforts with the federal grant reports, I was unable to give these reports a detailed exam, but after taking a quick look at them I can make a few predictions. We will be seriously over budget in the area of inmate board expense. That is not exactly a surprise since we go over the budget in that expense item every year. We always set the budget many thousands lower than what we spent the year before or in previous years, and we always seem to get nailed by a higher cost.

Our total car expense budget for 2010 was set at just over $110,000 and it appears that we will go over here as well. It did not help when almost $16,000 worth of gas bills for 2009 was paid out of the 2010 budget due to a late billing after the county closing date for the payment of bills. The fact we are still down two deputies helps keep the gas cost lower but leads to overtime hours elsewhere.

The rest of the budget looks fairly good at this time. We may or may not go over in one or two other areas and should be close to the budget target in most of the rest. I believe that for the most part our current 2010 budget is looking reasonable at this time. Of course in today’s modern economic world, that could all change in the blink of an eye, especially over federal actions.

I realize that this was a slow news week and this column does not seem to have the punch that other columns have had in the past but we welcome the slow for once. Once again we are out of space so please drive with care and please keep your actions legal. Our light bulb does work.

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