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Sheriff’s View #15 for April 6 to 10, 2009
Sheriff’s View #15 for April 6 to 10, 2009

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard for one more visit with the men and women of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. As I turned on the scanner this morning, Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 a.m., I found that one deputy who was supposed to get off at 3 a.m. this morning was still going strong. So I called dispatch to get the scoop and despite the dispatcher having to put me on hold four times before we could complete our business, I managed to get the bad word. It seems the other 3 a.m. deputy had just gone home. So we racked up some overtime today. The good news was that one of the telephone calls I had to hold for gave us the news that a missing person case the 3 a.m. deputy had been working on was now over because the missing person had just returned home. So that 3 a.m. deputy was now free to go home.

It is now 8:10 a.m. and the night cars have secured. Both day cars are now on the air. I am sure these day cars will have fun today as they try to cover the 550 square miles of Pulaski County and protect the 44,012 people who live in Pulaski County. The 44,012 figure represents the latest projected estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. I had to find that figure for a grant I am working on at this time and I thought I might as well share the information. So right now we have one deputy on duty for each 22,006 people who live in the county. This does not count the transient Interstate 44 population that is in the county at any given second.

Some people in Pulaski County think that two deputies on duty represent adequate law enforcement coverage for the citizens of Pulaski County. I am not one of those people. That deputy to population ratio is horrible, unbelievable, and totally inadequate. Someday it will cost us dearly.

I had a reader ask why the county commissioners and I fight so much. I do not consider our jousts to be a fight. I think each side has a profoundly different view of how to best serve the citizens of Pulaski County as we move toward the future. I know that we have had the chance to share viewpoints. For example last Thursday, Commissioner Bill Ransdall and Commissioner Rick Zweerink came over to my office for a visit. Major Tom Cristoffer, Capt. Bill Anderson and I exchanged viewpoints with them for some time so I know they have heard what we have to say. I for one can definitely appreciate their view of the current economy. The bottom line is that it is not a crime to disagree on what to do next for our county. If you do not talk then you do not have a chance to understand the other point of view.

I guess the big news for this week it that we are finally getting some good work done in our antique jail. The fire hazard wooden ceilings are going away and are being replaced with a wire mesh. The dingy cave lighting now looks more like high noon. As the workers removed the ceilings, we got a chance to look up into the air duct returns and it appears they have not been cleaned since the jail was redone back in 1976 so the air ducts are being vacuumed clean. Then the workers also found structural damage involving two walls in the oldest part of the jail and one jail cell wall that will have to be addressed.

The good news is that the county commissioners acted very promptly to address the structural damage and the job has already been assigned to a company. They will start work this week. The bad news in all of this is that we had to move the majority of the inmates to Miller County while the construction work was in progress. And each inmate was $35 per day out of the jail budget. But they were in the way of the workers and we caught several attempts by inmates to hide sharp pieces of scrap metal and that is a definite safety concern for the jail staff. So the bottom line here is that when the work is over, our antique jail will look and smell much better, and it will be much safer from a fire danger point of view and much harder from an escape point of view. But the construction cost when added to the inmate movement cost will all add up to some serious money. Since all of this work needed to be done some ten years ago, we will just have to accept the cost as a sign of progress.

In other news, it appears that our bid for two used patrol cars from the Phelps County Sheriff's Office was the winning bid. Even better, it appears that the payoff from the insurance company for the wrecked patrol car we had back in January of this year will be sufficient to purchase both of the new cars. I had also placed a bid on a four-wheel-drive truck that they had on the sale block but it appears that I lost that bid at the last second. But the best news of all is that both of the used vehicles we did acquire come fully equipped. That means we can get them into our service very quickly. All we will have to do is change some lettering on the cars, reprogram the radios, and do a vehicle safety check for any needed repairs.

Once again, I think I have reached the end of another chilling column. I hope the majority of you enjoyed the column although I understand there are those people who do not want me to put so much information on public display. I would ask once again that you please drive with care and stay legal with your actions because the jail light is on!

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