I will begin with Friday and work my way backward regarding last week's events. Friday afternoon I was honored to be a guest at Collier Park on Ft. Leonard Wood, where our local military heroes were recognized on Military Appreciation Day. This was a USO sponsored event and much to our taste-bud's delight, chefs from Jack Daniels Corporation smoked the meats and prepared meals for the troops. I joined other local business and government leaders to help load the plates of our military troops and their families. It was an honor to serve those who serve us on a daily basis.
Last month I was asked a question by a news reporter from Springfield, which was a first for me. She asked your Pulaski County sheriff how much money was owed to our county by convicted criminals, for past jail confinement and law enforcement services. I had to solicit the assistance of Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk Rachelle Beasley to obtain the information. According to our State records, Pulaski County has approximately 3 Million Dollars in outstanding debt owed to us by prior and recently convicted criminal offenders. I have to admit, this was quite a shocker. Now, one guess as to what your sheriff would like to do? Being able to collect even a small percentage of this would amount to a substantial sum. The newly passed Missouri SB72 and SB42 legislation furthers the collection abilities of our counties. Therefore, rest assured I will actively seek possible avenues to assist with this process.
Also, Missouri SB72 and 42 contains other news that many of you have been awaiting. This legislation strips the Carry a Concealed Weapon (CCW) licensing from the Missouri Department of Revenue and places the entire process into the hands of county sheriffs. Therefore, in the near future my office will be handling the total CCW process. The above legislation also makes it a crime to disseminate personal information about the CCW applicant without a court order. It is nice to see that our voices were heard loud and clear. This was a huge win for Missourians and the echoes from this legislation will be heard nationwide.
As promised, to make the CCW process more assessable to Pulaski County citizens, our office has extended the hours for CCW applicants, which are:
Sunday – 2PM to 10PM
Monday – 4PM to 10PM
Tuesday – 7Pm to 10PM
Before I leave the subject of SB72-42, here is one little trivia item that many probably did not know. Up until the time this legislation was passed, Missouri sheriff candidates "did not" have to be licensed peace officers to run for sheriff. Therefore, a man or woman who had not spent one day working as a peace officer could be elected as sheriff. Fortunately, very few such examples exist but I am very pleased to see this legislation finally passed. Citizens should expect (and deserve) a qualified and experienced county sheriff.
As reflected in a previous news release, one of the law enforcement highlights for Pulaski County law enforcement officers this past week was seeing two of our federal fugitives taken into custody. Our deputies had been searching for Stephen Klasing for several months, barely missing him on numerous occasions. Last week Klasing's luck ran out as he was taken into custody and is back behind bars. James Rhodenizer was also arrested last week in NW Pulaski County by Pulaski County deputies and Federal DEA agents. Both men are facing Federal and/or State charges for numerous criminal offenses, most of which are drug related.
Our next Town Hall meeting will be at the Hopewell Baptist Church in Big Piney this Tuesday, May 21, at 6:30 PM. On the following Tuesday, we will be meeting at the First Baptist Church in Swedeborg at the same time. Once these two meetings are complete, we will go to a once a month schedule at different locations throughout Pulaski County.
For more information about the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department and other related items of interest, please visit our Web-site at (www.pcsheriff2.com), or on Facebook.
As always, stay safe and do something positive for your community. See you next week.