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Sheriff told to cut $75,000 from budget
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Jan. 20, 2009) — County commissioners finished most their budget planning Tuesday morning and plan to turn their attention Thursday to the sheriff’s department budget.

“We need to make clear to the sheriff that we need $75,000 and we don’t care where it comes from,” said Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall. “Nobody told him to go cut out deputies or cut out dispatch, but if the sheriff can find $75,000 out of his $1,569,000 million budget, we need it.”

King has previously told commissioners that most of his budget is out of his control due to jail-related expenses, and the only way he can obtain that much money would be to eliminate staff members. However, commissioners said they’d like to find ways in which the county’s expenses to house inmates could be reduced by processing cases more quickly.

That would require cooperation with Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Hooper and the judges hearing cases in Pulaski County, commissioners acknowledged.

“The judges and the prosecutor could really help us out if they’d move them through more quickly. I understand people have rights, but this is costing a lot of money,” Farnham said.

One option, Ransdall said, may be to have serious criminal cases involving people stationed at Fort Leonard Wood prosecuted by the Army rather than by civilian authorities for off-post criminal activities. Ransdall noted a recent murder case in which a soldier assigned to General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital has been accused of killing another soldier’s wife in a rural area west of Pulaski County, but that county’s prosecutor quickly turned the case over to the Army.

“Instead of them going through the cost of the prosecutor and court costs and all that, they can just give them back to the Army and say, ‘Take them and run,’” said Ransdall, who noted that Hooper is a former Army JAG officer and Capt. Bill Anderson from the sheriff’s department is a retired Air Force criminal investigator.

“We have a new JAG officer on Fort Leonard Wood and I would encourage those people to have a meeting,” Ransdall said. “I would encourage any of those that could be handled by the military be promptly handled by them.”

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