Gangs are openly shooting each other in the streets. We have a drug problem that sees no end. Young people are stabbing each other. We have had drug arrests at our high school. People are afraid to venture out at night.
These are the reasons I attended the recent Sheriff's Foundation meeting. I wanted answers. Instead, I came away with questions.
Why are we operating a Sheriff's Office with half the deputies we need? Why do these deputies have an outdated communication system (that totally fails in some parts of the county)? Why do these deputies (in some instances) not have shotguns or rifles or adequate sidearms? Why do we not have an active "gang unit?" Why do we not have canine units? Why isn't the reserve officer training up and producing reserves to help?
Sheriff John Turner made a point: "We've just had to pick our priorities."
He went on to talk about how an effective "team" could be patrolling our county road system, stopping overweight trucks and cars that may be carrying drugs and bring them to scales, or effectively interview drivers to ferret out those running drugs. Such a program not only would pay for itself, but kick a few more dollars into the coffers. But it takes start-up money.
Why hasn't the cost of legal service (also handled by the Sheriff's Office) adjusted to reflect the actual cost of those services? I say let those who use the court system pay for the court system!
We elect our county commissioners because they convince us they can "get the job done!" It's now up to them to "pick their priorities."
Are they more interested in a 30 percent cushion or the safety of those who protect us. Is the money more important than the safety of those who elect them? Are their politics more important than the people?
If they can't answer these questions then maybe they aren't the people we thought we elected.
I believe the sheriff deserves to have his programs seriously evaluated and updated. No, I don't want a "police state," but I would like my son to attend a school free of drugs, free of gang influence, and I want to feel like I can walk any place I chose, any time I want.