Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard on a Memorial Day weekend. The Great Southern Brood XIX of the 2011 cicadas insect cycle are emerging now and are quite loud. In fact I am having trouble hearing the motorcycles this weekend over the cicadas' music. Then again, it took these pesky little creatures thirteen years to get here so maybe they have a right to be loud and I guess we will have to listen to the music for a few days.
As of 9:25 a.m. on Sunday, May 29, the calls for service/case number count stands at 4,598 for the year. By pure luck I also recorded the count on May 29, 2010, and on that date the count was 4,313. That means we are only 285 calls ahead of last year, which is a very minor increase so far and I hope that trend continues. In fact, I would even like to see a decrease in the numbers. So far this past week we had a daily count of around 65 to 68 inmates. According to Case Net our new prosecutor, Kevin Hillman, has now filed 749 cases so far this year. Last year’s count was 1,022.
On Thursday of this past week, we ran a drug interdiction program on I-44 in hopes of stirring up some action. We used our reserve deputies and had some assistance from the Franklin County Drug Task Force. The guys came up empty for the day. That is not exactly unusual in the interdiction business, but we will try again another day. Many of you may recall that back in December we tried an interdiction one fine day and bagged a 117-pound marijuana load which the DEA adopted and took to Indiana where they had success with arrests and money recovery. I was notified on Friday that the U. S. Marshals Service (which handles the payouts for drug seizures) had sent us a check for $5,343.04.
That is not exactly a major payout, but I do appreciate the drug dealer’s donation to our equipment fund. I will find a good use for the money. I had a chance meeting with former Phelps County Sheriff Don Blankenship this past week and I asked him what he got over the years from the drug payouts. His answer was he did not know for sure but it was probably somewhere between six to seven MILLION dollars. We have a long way to go to catch up to that figure but, boy oh boy, could I buy equipment if I had anywhere near that kind of money coming into the department.
The division of the money from a federal seizure is quite complex. The basic rule is that the more agencies that get involved in the case the lower the divided total for all will be in the end. For the case I cited above, the $5,343.04 was our part of a $63,000 catch in cash from the Indiana case. It might be possible that the feds will seize and sell some property as a result of the total criminal enterprise of the drug case sometime in the future and if that happens we should get another piece of the pie. All I can say is bring it on.
The final report on the COPS Grant for 2011 is that yes, we did get it in on time. In looking at the facts and figures we cited in the grant application, I see that we have presented a close case to what we did for the last COPS Grant cycle. For the last cycle we ranked fairly high in the end but I suspect that may not mean much this time around. In any event our application is on file at the COPS Grant office and they tell us the winners will be notified during the first week of October 2011. I will advise then what happened to us.
Just by chance this past week, I dropped in on our Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office official web page. Surprise! I was visitor number 10,049. It does not seem possible that we have had that many people visit our small town sheriff’s website in just a few months. I know the last time I mentioned the website everybody wanted to know what the address was and you are talking to the wrong computer genius for that info. However, I do know that if you will just go to your PC search engine and type in Pulaski County Missouri Sheriff’s Office, the website will pop up and you can then save it to your favorite’s column.
On a more somber note we continue to have our reserve deputies on the ground in Joplin. Several of our guys have been assigned to the morgue ever since the tornado hit the town and they continue to serve there. I believe that I can safely say the assignment weighs heavy on their minds but it is a necessary job and somebody has to man those posts. As the sheriff, I can say with pride that not every department which has sent people to Joplin has people with the qualifications needed to staff the morgue. Those same qualifications are nice to have on hand to protect and serve our Pulaski County citizens. At this time I think several of our people will be coming back home on the 30th and I do not know right now how many more will go back to Joplin this next week.
Once again, I believe that I have finished another column. I would, of course, ask that you drive with care this weekend for we do not need the wrecks, and please keep your actions legal, for our inmate count is high. However, you know that we do care about you and if you come to visit our jail we will leave the bright light bulb on just for you!
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