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Sheriff’s View #50 for Dec. 6 to 10, 2010
Sheriff’s View #50 for Dec. 6 to 10, 2010

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. We should have a column full of information today and most of it will be good information. The only question is where to start.

Our case number/calls for service count stands at 10,403 at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4. Since the record high for a year was 10,593 back in 2008, I suspect we will have new record high within the next week or ten days. This does not call for a celebration. We are still short on deputies and the high call volume does not help. There have been formal studies done that strongly recommend a ratio of 1.5 deputies per each 1,000 population count.

This 1.5 to 1,000 ratio is needed in order to supply an adequate force so that response to a critical incident will be by an adequate force. This takes into account the days off, sick leave, vacation, court overtime, and so forth on a 24/7/365 basis. Since the local Chamber of Commerce has set the Pulaski County population count at approximately 52,000, that would mean 53 x 1.5 equals 78 working deputies. We have 14 paid deputies and that includes me. Whenever our usual two-deputy shift at night or the graveyard shift is on duty, that means each deputy has 25,000 people who could pose a problem or become involved in an incident. A ratio of 25,000 to one should have us hanging our heads in shame.

In other news, my wife and I took part in the Laquey Christmas Parade on Saturday, and Sunday will be the Waynesville Christmas Parade. We threw candy with reckless abandon but for once I do not believe I hit any small kids in the head. The nasty wind and cold appeared to have cut down the usual size of the crowd, but those who were there had spirit.

This past week, I sent out a news release announcing that our rebuilt Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office website was back up and in business. I also mentioned it in last week’s column. Just in case you missed it, the web address is http://www.pcsheriff2.com. I would invite you to join the other people who have taken a look at the site. As of 5 p.m. today, the visitor count stood at 850 which I think is pretty impressive for a small town sheriff’s site. Once again, I would like to say a public word of thanks to Deputy Pam Sherrell for her hard work on the construction of the website.

On Friday of this week, I had a chance to meet with all of the judges of our 25 Judicial Circuit in Rolla and talk with them on the issue of GPS monitors for our jail inmates. Some of the media have reported the meeting as me giving the judges a presentation on the GPS system, but it was more like I was asking them for their input on such a system. A formal program using GPS or any other form of secure means of ensuring that an inmate who is out of the jail on the program stays where he is supposed to or does not go into an area where he is not supposed to be at any time is going to be a complex program. I have committed to trying to write up some proposals for such a program, but I will be the first to tell you I know very little about such programs.

I suspect that before this is over, I am going to know a whole lot more about such systems. The whole purpose here will be to keep the inmate secure while he is outside of the jail and to make sure he does not pose a threat to society, but at the same time to cut down the horrible jail bills that we must pay to house our inmates. It will be a tall order, but since the cost to house an inmate runs around $35 per day and the monitor systems run around $10 per day, I think you can all grasp the idea quickly.

I must confess that I come from the old law enforcement school of lock them all up forever and the very idea that I am working on a program designed to help them stay out of jail ... well, I really do not like the idea, but I also realize that the bills are killing us. As we near the end of 2010 and look back for the past nine years, Pulaski County will have spent approximately (actual figures for past years plus best guess for 2010) $3.27 million to house our inmates elsewhere. We have helped pay off two jails in other counties but we still have our antique jail in operation. It is simply not an acceptable situation.

This past week we also had our Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) audit by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Communication Division. On our last audit three years ago we had deficient errors in 7 of 85 sections and had a score in the nineties. They no longer do a numerical score and this year we were deficient in 2 of 85 sections. Since we had lost all of our experienced communication people who quit and moved into higher paying jobs and we were left with green kids training even greener kids, I will say that I sweated as this audit date approached. Bluntly said, the green kids blew the audit away and I cannot think of enough words of praise and thanks for their efforts. They did a fantastic job and I have got to come up with an extra way to reward them somehow. My very public and heartfelt thanks to the dispatch crew at the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office for a job extremely well done.

Once again I have hit the word limit. I will close out by asking all of you to please drive with care and please keep your actions legal. We do not need the wrecks or the bodies in the jail, but if you must visit the jail, the light bulb burns bright!

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