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Sheriff's View #13 for March 23 to 27, 2009
Sheriff's View #13 for March 23 to 27, 2009

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard for one more visit with the men and women of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office. We have had a busy week but part of what we did I cannot write about just yet. I hate it when that happens because it costs me good info to pass along. But somewhere down the line I will be able to share the news.

It has been some time now since this has happened but I had a reader of the column ask me a question that deserves an answer. The question was, "What has been the most unexpected problem you have had to deal with as sheriff?" There would be a lot I could say but due to the way the question was phrased my answer was easy to determine. The administrative side of the office has been the most unexpected and complicated side of the job.

And it started very quickly. On January 3, 2005, my third day in office, I was required to certify the employee payroll for the previous two weeks. I had not been in office for those two weeks so the payroll part was hard enough to figure out but we also had a major complication to handle. One of the deputies from the prior regime had decided to quit the day before I took office. So I had to certify his ending paycheck, which was for 855 hours of accumulated work time. The established Pulaski County policy of paying employees for accumulated work time only when they leave our employment was a rude shock to my system. I also quickly found out that Pulaski County would only pay 80 hours per two-week time period no matter what kind of work hours the employee might have accumulated during the two-week period. Tracking accumulated work hours quickly became a major job.

Then there were the payment demand bills for goods and services the department had used. Every bill that concerns the sheriff's office has to be approved and signed by the sheriff. If the bill concerns a budget line item then you must designate which budget line. If the bill can be paid from another fund under the sheriff's control such as the civil fee fund that you must designate the fund the payment should be made from. I can laugh at all this now after four full years of experience but I must admit that the first four or five months of 2005 were a definite pain for my brain.

Then you had to certify inventories of equipment and office furniture and so forth. You had to track deputy training hours. The vehicle fleet maintenance had to be accounted for along with a host of other duties on the administrative side. Then there was the budget. I soon found that the sheriff's operation side of the budget contained the medical and food cost for the jail side. So each year I move the food and medical cost over to the jail side for a better understanding of the actual yearly cost of the jail operation and the final budget comes out every year with the food and medical costs back on the sheriff's operation side. So in the end, yes, the administrative side of the house has been the most unexpected development for work.

In other news, we got two cars and one deputy back from the body shop this week and all three have been found fit to return to work. One more deputy will be back Monday from a sudden trip out of state. One deputy who had to go out of state on a medical emergency is still missing in action. We are slowly getting back to "normal" and things are looking much better. Our motto over the past few weeks has been if it can go wrong then it will happen.

We assisted the Rolla Police Department with an investigation on Friday. We had Rolla officers in uniform riding with a deputy as they searched for some suspects in a Rolla case. I believe they found and questioned everybody they wanted to talk with and the case is moving along. We also arrested one subject on Thursday who had a high profile felony warrant out of Phelps County for stealing. I believe the Friday edition of the Rolla Daily News carried a big story on that case.

The February 2009 dispatch numbers are with me today. We had 3,325 telephone calls. We had 1,056 people at the front window. We also had 47 animal calls, 14 domestics and 10 arrests at the front window. Due to manpower shortages in February, the warrant team effort was canceled for the month. So once again the dispatch crew earned their pay.

We have started a grant application for the best of all grant packages, one that supplies manpower. This federal grant is part of the economic stimulus package from Washington DC and the objective is to replace officers lost in budget crunches due to the failing economy. Since we lost two deputies in the 2009 budget, we are going to ask for replacements for them. We are also going to ask for two new deputies. We have a very short time period to apply for this grant so I have asked the professional grant writers at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission to complete the grant for us.

And I believe that is a wrap for this column. Once again I will ask that you drive with care and keep your actions legal. We still do not want your jail business but if you do drop in for an unexpected visit you will find the lights are on.

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