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The Sheriff’s View #6 for Feb. 2 to 6
The Sheriff’s View #6 for Feb. 2 to 6

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard for another thrill packed column. Actually I hope I can get through this column and produce something worth reading. Despite the fact this is year number five for the column I am still stumped at times over what I should write about in the column. For example in last week’s column I hit the future very hard. This resulted in very few comments that got back to me. Yet on occasion I make some simple remark about an item that did not seem that important and it gets pounded into the ground with remarks.

I did get one suggestion from a reader that we refer to our new courthouse generator as “The Green Hornet.” If you are one of the old-timers in the county, you may remember that was the name of a radio show and the super hero who starred in that production. Since the new generator does buzz after a fashion I guess the Green Hornet would fit.

The county budget has been completed. Surprise! We may actually have a chance at meeting the inmate board bill this year. We were given $350,000 for inmate board this year (the highest total ever recorded) and hopefully our increased use of book and release will help us cut some of the expense. We will still have many cases where we cannot do that but with a little luck we should be close at the end of the year.

In another budget line item I suspect we will not do so good. The auto expense was cut by a fair amount. I will confess that I have no idea where gas prices are going this year. I know the answer is “up,” but “up to where?” We also have to pay all of the other auto expense from this line item. It appears that our good luck from last year will not carry over this year on mechanical repairs. We have already done a major repair on one transmission and we have at least two more cars that appear to need a major transmission repair at this time.

We also have the issue of the car that was totaled in the accident in January. We will need to replace the car and most of the equipment that was in the car. Our ace mechanic and car fleet manager is still out on sick leave so that is going to slow us down on the replacement. At this time we are still waiting for a report from the insurance company.

In other news, we were involved in a drug case with the LANEG officers this past week. It was a short-term investigation that began with a car stop that yielded twenty pounds of marijuana. While working the case, the officers developed enough information to apply for a search warrant for the suspect’s home and they found three more pounds of marijuana in the house. They also found anabolic steroids during the search. The suspect, Benjamin C. Johnson, age 21, of 14990 Turkey Lane, St. Robert, Missouri was charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance. His bond was set at $30,000.

We also did a second operation with LANEG on Friday night in the Dixon area that resulted in the seizure of meth and heroin. I am going to have the LANEG press officer issue the news release and it should be out sometime Monday morning. Hopefully the slow release will not cause any undue anxiety among our readers as they wait for the details.

We have been working very well with the LANEG officers over the past three years. We have made a lot of progress and made a lot of cases. I am pleased that we did not have to cut the 2009 LANEG yearly payment from our budget. We do not have a budgeted working narcotic deputy left in our department at this time. Since we just lost two deputy slots in this year’s budget, that will not change. So at this time, our main anti-narcotic effort comes from our use of the LANEG task force members. We do have a group of reserve detectives who have produced a lot of good anti-drug work for us. But the fatal flaw here is that they are reserves. They must first please their regular boss before they can come and work for us for free. If we ever get the law enforcement sales tax in place, a group of full time drug deputies will be some of the first new people hired. And we will keep them very busy.

Our calls for service/case number count for the year of 2009 currently stands at 609 on Jan. 31st at 1:30 p.m. I am sure we will have another booming year for case numbers but I must confess that the loss of the two deputy slots in the 2009 budget is going to hurt us badly this year. For that matter, the loss of the one-and-a-half dispatch positions will also knock us dead. We have very few ways left that we can improvise, overcome, and adapt to the forced cuts that dropped on our heads at budget time. This will not be a fun year for the sheriff’s department.

It is time to close out the column for this week. Hopefully it was worth reading and hopefully you learned something. I would again ask that you all drive with care and keep your actions legal. We still do not want your jail business so stay away! But if you must visit the jail you will find that the light is on!

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