Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard on a cool Saturday with a nice cool wind helping to make the situation even better. It sure does beat the 90-degree temperatures we had a few days ago. This will be an interesting column since I will have to make it up as I go along typing away. Under these circumstances you never know what will make it into print.
We shall start with a few numbers today. As of 10:44 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, our case number/calls for service count stands at 5,098 for the year. Since I am working at the office today, I cannot check last year’s column with ease. Our inmate count today stands at 64. Of those inmates listed we have 28 here, 8 in Miller County, 23 in Phelps County and 5 at Dixon. Our board bill for today will be $1,260.
According to the listing in CaseNet our new prosecutor Kevin Hillman has now filed 838 cases so far this year. That compares to a total of 1,022 cases filed in all of 2010. The real good news is that our inmate count has been staying fairly steady. On Friday afternoon we had a meeting of all of the judges from the 25th Judicial Circuit here in our courthouse. Hillman made a presentation and request for a change to the five-day plea notice requirement. His goal was to be able to waive the five-day notice when everything was ready for a plea from a defendant. One of the reasons he cited was the financial burden placed on Pulaski County when we hold an inmate longer than necessary. I am happy to report that the judges accepted his proposal. This move will save us some money in the long run, maybe a whole lot of money.
I have been notified that our state policy advisor to the federal Department of Justice has decided to hold a major grant review and audit by telephone. You may recall that we were due for an audit to be conducted here in May that did not occur because of federal budget concerns, so now we are going to do this by telephone. I suspect that this one will get interesting. The two grants to be audited are the jail grant and the dispatch/evidence grant. They have a combined total of $459,423 to be spent over a two year period. Both of these grants are 100 percent federally funded with no match by Pulaski County. At this time they are both set to expire on Dec. 31 of this year. At that time, we will lose eight well-trained employees.
We will lose five people in the jail and our jail staff will once again drop down to a total staff of five people to keep the jail in operation 24/7/365. Our dispatch staff will drop from six full-time and one part-time down to four full-time and one part-time employee. The evidence room will drop from one full-time employee to no employee in the evidence room. Bluntly said, as a department, we cannot take this reduction in employees, but there has been no additional revenue stream generated so there is no chance that we can save all eight people. We might be able to squeeze in one or two from the budget but we also face a new problem next year in finding funds for the electric/fuel costs for the courthouse which can no longer be paid from the courthouse sales fund. Bottom line: there will be weeping and crying at next year's budget meetings.
Speaking of weeping, we had a Board of Directors meeting of the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group (LANEG) on Thursday in Hermann and the bottom line here is that federal funds to help keep the drug task forces in operation are becoming harder to get and severe reductions have been predicted for next year. Thus the law-abiding citizens of Pulaski County will once again be weeping and the members of the Pulaski County Drug Dealers Association will be celebrating once again.
The news on the money front is not all bad, however. We are now eligible for a federal grant for $10,948 that just opened up via the local JAG solicitations through the Edward J. Byrne Grant funding program and we are at work on the application for that grant. This will basically be an equipment grant and I will have no problem finding equipment needs for the department.
We have run into a timing problem with our new Dodge patrol car and that issue, along with a delay in the arrival of some new interior equipment parts, will delay the arrival of the new car by a week or so. It would be nice if the Ford-based equipment fit into the Dodge but that is not the case and some new items had to be ordered. The Dodge will still look good when we are done.
I seem to have run out of material to cover so once again I will close out by asking that you drive with care because we do not need the wrecks. Please keep your actions legal for we do not need your body in our jail, but as you well know by now, if you must visit the jail we will leave the bright light bulb on just for you.
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