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Sheriff's View #10 for March 2 to 6, 2009
Sheriff's View #10 for March 2 to 6, 2009

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard for one more extremely slow trip around Pulaski County with the deputies of the Pulaski County Sheriff's office. And I do mean a slow trip. Any degree of speed right now will put you into the ditch or the tree or whatever else you did not want to hit. The next few snow covered days will be very long.

If you were one of the people who stayed home on Saturday during the blizzard then I must say thank you. The emergency services personnel of Pulaski County appreciate the lack of business that you created by staying home. For the millions of drivers who were out speeding around in the snow I would love to express my true thoughts but this is a family column and I cannot express those thoughts in print.

Having said that I should mention that my thoughts are probably influenced by the memory of the rock bluff, the west end of a guardrail, and the red van all of which I almost hit in a space of about ten seconds. I would love to say that my many long years of experience of driving in snow and ice conditions kept me from severely damaging my patrol car yesterday. But that would be a large fib. Lady Luck must have been riding shotgun with me yesterday because I have no clue how I came out of that skid without damage.

As I said after the last snow/ice blast we need more four-wheel-drive vehicles in our departmental fleet. I am not sure how we are going to accomplish this little mission since money to purchase cars is not provided in the county budget. But I do know that we cannot go into the next winter season without additional four-wheel-drive vehicles. Right now I am just hoping that this was the last big snow bang for the 2008-2009 winter season. We will have time to worry later about the winter season of 2009-2010.

We got our 2005 Ford inmate transport van back just in time last week to start a series of scheduled trips around the state. It seems hard to believe, but the red van already has 97,000-something miles on the odometer. We have only had the vehicle for a little over two years. It only cost us $551 to fix the transmission. The blue older model inmate transport van is still out of service and we have no idea when it will return to service. The good news is that the one regular patrol car that was gone for repair has been returned to service.

On the dispatch front, one of the four dispatchers that we have left is currently on vacation. That leaves three people to cover the radio/MULES terminal on a 24 hour, seven-day-per-week basis for two weeks. That little fact translates into a lot of accumulated comp time that will jump onto the books during this two-week period.

The dispatch comp time accumulation is further complicated by the fact that my backup deputy who has the required MULES certifications is also out on sick leave so I cannot pull that rabbit out of the hat and lessen the dispatch load. This all translates into just another example of the best-laid plans of mice and men going down the drain.

On the deputy front, we lost two positions during the 2009 budget. We have one deputy out on long-term sick leave. We now have two deputies out on a short-term sick leave of a few weeks each. That makes four out of twelve road slots and one of five specialty slots. The grand total would be five missing out of seventeen or just over 29 percent of the total deputies. But our job of protecting the citizens of Pulaski County continues on a 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-per week, 365-days-per-year basis. I suspect I do not have to say that we need more manpower.

As I write the column on Sunday, March 1, our calls for service/case number count stands at 1,303 calls. I took the liberty of checking my notes for last year and on Sunday, March 2 of 2008, the total stood at 1,462 calls. That is a drop of 159 calls over last year. I do hope this trend continues.

I have reached the point where I have nothing left to write about or at least nothing I can think of at this moment. So once again I will ask that you drive with extreme care for the next few days and please keep your actions legal. We do not want your jail business, but if they are needed, the jail lights are on.

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