The weather has been nice with the exception of no rain, and we have been running and gunning all across the county. We have made numerous arrests, transported prisoners and continued on with our construction at the jail. The deputies have now moved in on the east side of the court house and are working out of that office. If you need help and no vehicle is outside, then go by the jail and they will get a deputy for you as soon as possible. My office, next to the tax office is open so feel free to stop by if I can do anything for you.
The tax office is now at full strength and we are doing our best to hold the pace. I have changed the hours and just to remind everyone it is now open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The reason for this is that it gives the ladies the last hour, from 4 to 5 p.m., a chance to catch up and get all of the records put into the computer and balance everything from that business day. This way we start fresh each and every day. Brandy and Casey are always willing to assist you and are working to keep the tax office user friendly.
The jail is rocking right along at an extremely fast pace. Chief Deputy Bill Price is pushing forward on the second phase of our remodel and the inside is looking good. There was a lot of decay, and we are addressing each and every issue that comes up. The commissioners have been a great help to us and with everyone working together we are seeing huge progress. Once the inside projects are finished, we will be pushing forward with the outside of the building. We intend to paint and clean up our jail and work the outside yards back into shape. Just a reminder that we are still short handed at the jail, so bear with us. Our own Becky Starr is still out injured. We received good news concerning her injuries, but the healing process will be slow and we need everyone to keep her in their prayers. Becky is a valuable asset to us at the jail and is missed every single day.
Oh yes, we do have a Dodge Charger, and, no, we did not break the bank getting it. Chief Deputy Price actually found the Dodge used and we were able to purchase it at an excellent price and still have money to spend on our other vehicles. We are attempting to bring the vehicles and the deputies up to speed on equipment. You cannot expect deputies who might be 15 miles out in the dark on the side of the road, not to have the right equipment to keep them safe. I believe that we need to work as hard as we can to see that not only the deputies, but all of our law enforcement personnel have the equipment necessary to do their jobs safely. This brings me to another matter.
When you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the roadway with its emergency lights on the law requires you to slow down 20 miles per hour BELOW the posted speed limit. In the city where it is 30 mph then it would be 10 mph. Traffic is the most dangerous job that law enforcement undertakes in their day to day operations. In the past few years the number of officer deaths due to traffic accidents have increased and now more officers are killed working traffic than any other job assignment. Therefore, we will be working with each agency to attempt to slow traffic down in this area. When an officer is out on traffic, be looking for a second and third unit in the area. One unit might be cover for the other officer, but the other will be looking at your speed. So if you could please remember to slow down well below the posted speed limit, we would appreciate it very much, and the life you save could be ours.
In other news, we have made numerous arrests this past week including a felony narcotics case. Officer Shaw and myself made a bust right before church Sunday morning and seized both methamphetamine and marijuana. We also seized a car, some cash and a couple of weapons. We did leave the change in the ashtray, but it was dirty. We are very serious about bringing all our guns to bear on this problem and one of these is asset forfeiture. I learned from Chief Riggs just how important this tool is. The bad guys take things from us and we definitely intend to take it back from them every chance we get. If the crime is committed and the law says we can seize it we will. A thanks goes out to Officer Dwayne Shaw not only for his work on the streets, but for all his help in the courthouse, as well. Shaw is carrying a dual commission with the Sheriff's Office. He is the bailiff for the Sheriff's Office and as such is assisting me with the necessary changes in courthouse security. Which brings us to our last issue.
We will be making some changes in the security at the courthouse and will need everyone's help with this. The dress code is already posted on the courthouse doors. This will be enforced as well as new rules concerning personal possessions. All cell phones, pagers, and electronic devices must be left outside the courtroom, which means in your vehicles. No weapons of any type and or size are permitted in the courtroom at any time, including pocket knives. No visiting with the inmates unless permitted by the Sheriff and/or one of his deputies. When the inmates are in the courtroom, the Sheriff is still responsible for their actions and no contact will be allowed without prior approval. The east side of the courtroom, next to the elevators will be the only entrance to the courtroom available to the public. This way Officer Shaw can control who comes and goes from the courtroom at all times. We will do our best to get more information out to you concerning additional changes when they are made and we want to thank you in advance for your support. Change is not always easy, but is always necessary to prevent future problems.
Finally we want to thank God for all his blessings and protection in our county. Our law enforcement officers are aware of the fact that by turning up the heat on the drugs and alcohol violations, they then place themselves in harms way more often. There is a saying that goes something like this, "The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." Well, I believe there are a lot of good men and women in this county and we will keep on pushing forward with your help. A quick shout out to our newest city officer Misty Maldonado. Her son is back home after his accident and doing better; keep them in your prayers. Our own Chris Wilson is about to have a baby, well I mean his beautiful wife is, and we need to keep them in our prayers, as well. Once again, we thank you for your prayers and your support.
Thank You, Sheriff L.A. Brown