Welcome aboard one more time. The case number count this Sunday morning stands at 2,845. For this same week in 2008 the count stood at 3,370. We now have a reduction in cases of 525 for this year. I do hope this trend continues.
I guess the big news for this past week was the unknown powder incident at our office. The powder was released in the foyer area and we went to a lockdown immediately. Our local fire and police departments came through with flying colors as they blocked off the square and investigated the powder. I sort of got caught in a bad spot by this incident. I had been at the Waynesville Park waiting to see if I got to “kiss” the frog. (This was one election where I did not mind a second-place finish.) But as I walked away from the booth after the election was over, I got the phone call on the powder incident.
I wanted to rush to the scene but that was a no-no for several reasons. However, it did not matter since the entire night shift had been at the office and they were all on lockdown. I was the only deputy left in uniform and they had a call for me to handle, so I took on the calls and waited for the fire departments to clear the building. It took a little over two hours to resolve this issue, which is fast for such an event. I have already sent out a press release praising our local police and fire departments, but I would like to take a second to say thanks again.
I would like to say, “Job very well done,” to the Waynesville Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Mark Twain REACT for closing off the courthouse square. A special thanks to the fire personnel from the Waynesville Rural Fire Protection District, St. Robert Fire Department and the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department who charged into the unknown powder. Tri-County Rural Fire Protection District personnel moved several of their units over to the St. Robert-Waynesville area to cover their territory. Meanwhile, Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel moved units close to the courthouse in case they were needed. All in all, it was a smooth and very well executed operation. The emergency services personnel from all of the responding agencies should feel proud.
Saturday was a busy day for the department. Besides the afternoon powder incident, we also had a morning SWAT callout. We had a situation from a domestic assault we were trying to resolve and activated the Pulaski County Emergency Response Team (PCERT) unit to assist. In the end, we were able to solve the problem with a negotiated surrender and we did not have to use the team but it was nice to know they were available for use. In this domestic case a charge has not yet been filed and no names or details will be released at this time. But with both of these incidents back to back, we were busy.
I now have the official word that the Missouri State Highway Patrol has hired away our second-ranking communications supervisor, whose last day will be May 22. I hope the patrol appreciates the caliber of the people they steal from us — I mean, “hire away” from us. It is hard to squawk when you know the employee is going to double their salary and receive a great benefits package to boot. But I probably will squawk anyway. Once again I will say that it is hard to prosper as a department when we continue to lose the cream of our employee crop.
Once again I get to say that we have hired a replacement for the rookie communications employee who quit last week and his training has already started. We have another selection on line ready to start after May 22, so for the next two months or so, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department communication division will again be a training hotbed. Somehow we will need to keep the MULES entries and validations up to date. I do pray that our efforts to secure the federal grant for two additional full time dispatchers will be successful. We need to catch a break once in a while and it would be nice to have a little cushion in employee strength for once.
At this time, all cars from the wrecker and garage list are back in service. I think we have one more transmission to fix, or maybe that was an engine cylinder on the fritz; after a while, I sort of lose track of the latest mechanical problems. When you drive junk, you get to do a lot of repair work.
I believe that I reported last week I was down to two grants left to apply for, but it now appears that a third grant has come to our attention and I believe we can apply for this one also, so now I am a total of three grants down once again. When I am forced to concentrate on the grants, I lose track of the rest of the department. However the staff can handle the department while I take care of the grants. The simple fact of life is that if you miss completing the application for the grant, then you do not have a chance to win the grant.
In closing for this week, I will once again ask that you drive with care and keep your actions legal. Our jail is full and we do not want you, but if you must visit the lights are on.