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I am writing this letter in response to an editorial that was written a few weeks ago about holding our elected officials accountable. It appears that some of our officials are holding themselves responsible by working hard to improve their offices and provide more services for the citizens of Spencer County under their administrations than were available before they were elected.
If you look around you will see one of our officials — the sheriff — on the job long before his office opens and long after his office is closed. For example, if you notice, the sheriff is out on the job at all times of the day and night seven days a week.
I met with the sheriff not long ago and spoke with him about how things were going at the sheriff’s office. To my surprise things were much better than what I had even observed.
From our conversation, I learned that we have had 24-hour patrol seven days a week for the last 18 months and also the office has a full time detective. That explains why I see the sheriff cars out a lot more than I used to. Sheriff Buddy Stump said the sheriff’s office has reduced the emergency response time on calls for service to the citizens by having a 24-hour agency.
I found out that many needed improvements in their equipment had been addressed. He advised me that he had been able to obtain new handguns and new patrol rifles for all of the deputies for only the cost of shipping. He was also able to obtain some additional shotguns, which now means that all weapons that are used by sheriff’s office personnel are now furnished by the sheriff’s office instead of the deputies using their personal firearms. He said he was able to obtain a grant that paid for each deputy to have new body armor and has other grants submitted at this time.
He said he was able to obtain low mileage military vehicles with as low as 250 miles to 35,000 miles, with one vehicle having 65,000 miles to be used in case of a natural disaster, drug eradication, etc.
He also told me he was able to obtain a command center, generators and other equipment to be used in case of a disaster or other emergency that might take place in the county.
The sheriff said it’s too late to attempt to obtain much needed equipment after an emergency has taken place especially since all of the equipment and vehicles were obtained at no cost to the citizens of the county. The sheriff said acquiring this equipment is the responsible thing to do.
He is in the process of getting some of the deputies specialized training and just had a deputy complete the firearms instructor training. The sheriff stated that the deputies can now qualify with their firearms without having to get an outside agency to assist.
The sheriff stated he did some research and found out that before he became sheriff the county could not collect fees from the state for transporting felony prisoners between court and jail because they were using transport officers, but if his office would assume the duties, then he could collect transport fees from the state. He told me that he advised the judge-executive and Jailer Darrell Herndon of this situation. Sheriff Stump said he was able to work together with the jailer and enter into an agreement that made the sheriff’s office and the jailer both responsible for the transportation of prisoners instead of the county transporting prisoners with the use of transport officers.
He stated that there were also other fees that were not being collected from the state for services that are conducted by the sheriff’s office, which has made it possible for his office to collect thousands of dollars more money for the citizens.
These are some examples of some of the things that were discussed in my conversation with Sheriff Stump. I realized that things at the sheriff’s office are much better than what some people want others to believe. Stump lives and breathes the sheriff’s office. I think he has done a great job of using good financial sense along with making himself available and accountable to the citizens of Spencer County.
William J. Rutherford