Welcome aboard one more time on a crisp sunny day with the temps actually nice for a change. I could get used to this weather. So where do I start for today? I think I will start with a bit of personal trivia to share with you. This column header mentions the date of Sept. 14, 2012. On that date 43 years ago I reported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy in Rolla, Missouri, to begin my law enforcement career. So as of this next Friday I am working on 43 years in LE and other than the training academy the entire time has been served in Pulaski County.
In a previous column I said that I was going to highlight some of the things we do and some of my people before I leave office. During the past 8 years I have gone out of my way to try and not aid the enemy with details that would help them commit crimes here in the county. At times that has required a delicate balancing act between the public right to know and giving information that would aid in criminal acts. Having said that I can already hear the objection that I constantly tell the world we only have two deputies on duty and that would aid the crooks. Well not exactly, most of our bad guys are avid scanner freaks and they understand our manpower and work schedules as well as I do.
I have written before that we have acquired almost $100,000 worth of police equipment as a result of federal grants. We are one of the best equipped departments in the area but I have not specified exactly what equipment we do have in use. And I most likely will not specify the types of equipment we have acquired except in very general terms. It is no secret that we have seven of the most modern in car camera systems in seven of our patrol cars. We need seven more to cover the rest of the fleet. If you have a pursuit or major event there is a 50/50 chance that you will be on film. So smile for your court hearing, the jury will appreciate the smile.
We now have a recorded dispatch center on both our telephone lines and radio frequency. This has proven to be a major working item for us. The evidence room items are now barcoded for ease of accountability and tracking. We are using more of the reporting modules in our Crime Starr reporting system than ever before.
I could go on but I have news that I want to share that will also lead to the spotlight for Major Thomas (Tom) Cristoffer our Chief Deputy. As many of you know over the past 8 years we have transformed our car fleet from a moving junk pile into a fairly decent fleet of cars. The full credit for that goes to Tom. All I do is secure the funding for the cars he finds. Tom makes all of the decisions on the car fleet. I figured out many years ago that such a move was in the best interest of the department. Tom makes the car fleet work from acquired used parts at very reasonable costs to putting the cars together. From his sage advice on car purchases, buy or do not buy, to who should get which car Tom has been an invaluable asset. When Tom retires the cost of doing business with the car fleet is going to go up.
Tom's latest idea was to transform the old Vo-Tech part of the recently purchased Old Middle School into our very own motor pool. Since Tom is a retired Army man is has to be a motor pool and not a garage. With the assistance of the Board of Directors of the Pulaski County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund who agreed to foot the bill for the new garage door to allow access to the building Tom has been the sparkplug to design, and transition the project to its current level of about 97% done. The garage door opener will be wired up to the electrical outlet on Monday and the door project will be done. Next will be the security fence across the side of the building to create a secure parking lot/impound area for vehicles. And that was also Tom's idea.
It will be a sad day for Pulaski County when Tom retires; we will miss his advice and his cunning fleet management. We will miss his sense of humor and the shy way he picks on the boss. But since he worked for the army over twenty years and now for Pulaski County for twenty years I he is entitled to think about retirement should he so desire. You have done your job very well Tom Cristoffer and Pulaski County should be very proud of you.
In other news we had one deputy suffer minor injuries in a vehicle accident last week that totaled out one of our patrol cars. The best news here is that it appears that nobody was hurt very bad in the wreck. This past week Deputy Jimmy Bench, better known as Bow Wow for his ability to find dogs that love him, make that find dogs that like to chew on him and send him to the Emergency Room, seems to have some competition for the title. It appears that Deputy Dan Cordova tried to take the title away from Jimmy this past week when he found several dogs on a call that chewed away on both of his hands. And Dan got a trip to the ER. Gents, speaking for myself, and I suspect for the rest of the deputies, you two can keep that competition between the two of you. The rest of us do not want to play that game.
A quick update on the jail front; we bonded out several, sent four to the Missouri Department of Corrections, released one serving a sentence, sent a few off to the agencies holding their warrants and bang we currently stand at 65 inmates on the list today with 28 of them here. So things are looking up. The calls for service count stands at 9,801 today.
Please drive with care and please stay out of my jail. We are still going to be over budget at the end of the year on the board bill. But the bright jail light bulb shines brightly just for you if you decide to visit.