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Sheriff’s View #3 for Jan. 11 to 15, 2010
Sheriff’s View #3 for Jan. 11 to 15, 2010

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard for another column. I would love to tell you that I am writing today’s column from somewhere in the Caribbean area of the world but it would be a lie. I am here with the snow and cold just like the rest of you. There was a moment of discouragement for me a week or so ago as I tried to watch a few minutes of a football game from “mile high stadium” in Denver Colorado and the game time temp was given as 38 degrees. We had a very much lower reading here at that time. The game time temperature reading in Denver helped to promote a TV moment of high weather discouragement in a world of weird weather. How could we be at a lower temperature then Denver?

Usually in the third column of the year I have much to say about the ongoing budget process. The snow has helped slow down that budget process. I have turned in a budget for 2010 that exactly mirrors what we were given in 2009. I have moved the dollars around within the budget to better cover our needs based on last year’s expense, but the bottom line is the exact same as for 2009. Since we already know that the sales tax revenue for the 2009 year increased, that should be a fairly safe way to present round one of the budget process. I will keep you informed on our progress.

This budget year will be enhanced since we now have hiring authority from the feds for the new jail staff members. Once we get the new hires trained up our overtime should drop to almost nothing and I will have the manpower totals that will help me slowly roll back some of the accumulated overtime. We believe that we have furnished the feds with the last nit picking details on the dispatch/evidence grant and we have been informed that we are under review again pending hiring authority on that grant. Once we have those folks hired I can begin to roll back the overtime in the dispatch area. This could be a good year because of the grants.

The past several days have once again pointed out a shortfall in our vehicle program. We only have two 4x4 vehicles in the fleet for snow days and that is just not enough to go around, but it is a matter of money. Since we pay the bottom line dollar for our patrol cars and can barely keep our fleet up and running, there is little chance to find money for the purchase of additional 4x4 vehicles that we would only need for a three month period. However, that does not help us handle our calls during the time that we do need the 4x4 vehicles, so once again I shall vow to try and find a way to add another 4x4 to our fleet. I have told myself the same thing for the past five winter years and have yet to find the money needed to buy more 4x4’s. It does not help that we have also run the miles way up on our jail transport van and it needs to be replaced. Bottom line: It would be nice if we had money set up in the budget for us to purchase cars. Since that has not happened for the past five budget years I will not hold much hope for the year six budget.

If we ever get the full law enforcement sales tax passed, one of the first things I would set up would be a revolving car fund like to one used by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. That way we would have a major budget amount of money for new cars every year. Over a period of a few years such a program would completely change our vehicle fleet. If I had the full law enforcement sales tax passed, I would also set up a full-time narcotic unit and additional full time detectives for follow up on serious or complex cases. I would also add more road deputies for better coverage of the crimes against citizens of Pulaski County. Based on the content of this paragraph so far, it appears that I have lost touch with the real world and I better crawl back into the underfunded frame of mind.

In other news I must confess to a department boo-boo. It seems that our computer system added a whole bunch of false numbers to our calls for service/case number system. We did not catch it right off and when we did it took a few days to reassign numbers and get the system back on track. The mess only began a few weeks ago so for the most part the numbers that I had been reporting all year were correct. We finished 2009 with 9,678 calls for service. In 2008 we had 10,593 calls for service. That is a drop of 915 calls for the year. As you may remember in most of my columns for 2009 we were reporting a drop in numbers that was close to the final count. I would like to give my apology today to all our readers for the incorrect information that previously appeared in this column.

And there you have it another column in the history bank. Once again I would ask that you all drive with care because it is way too cold to be inside an overturned car with an injury. It is also way to (fill in your own reason) to be a guest at the Pulaski County Jail so please stay away. But if you must visit us the lights are working just fine.

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