LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Sheriff should work within budget limits

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Was it surprising to you that with all the publicity generated by the sheriff pertaining to gang problems that there was no specific request for money to fight said gang problems in his request for additional $1 million to his budget?

Well, not if you know that the Sheriff's Office has very little to do with resolving gang problems. It is the Walla Walla Police Department that is burdened with the investigation of approximately 90 percent of all gang-related crimes. Further, the great majority, if not all, of the gang members live within the city; and the city police, not the Sheriff's Office, established back in 1992 a gang unit to resolve gang-related crimes!

Sheriff Turner's request for an additional $1 million included the hiring of four more employees - two deputies, one correctional officer and one records clerk, plus 20 more reserve officers - inferring, I guess, that his present staff of some 25 deputies, 23 correctional officers and eight reserves aren't sufficient to handle 1.5 felonies per day.

It wasn't that long ago that the sheriff's staff was half of what it is today!

One also has to wonder how it was that Sheriff Mike Humphreys and Bill Jackson before him were well able to protect us and efficiently executed their statutory duties within their budgetary limitations.

We are in an economic downturn requiring all county agencies to tighten their belts - including the Sheriff's Office. For Sheriff Turner to suggest that failures of the commissioners to grant his additional $1 million request will result in causing more victims is outrageous - and has no more merit than Vice President Biden's statement, "If Obama's job bill isn't passed we will have more rapes."

If Sheriff Turner cannot execute his statutory duties within the limits of his budget then perhaps we need to get someone who can!

Jerry Votendahl

Walla Walla

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