Well, it's starting off to be a very hot morning and looks like it's just going to get hotter. We are all praying for rain while watching for smoke. I want to thank all the farmers and ranchers who could have burned and didn't this past weekend. The burn ban had been lifted but the conditions shot right back up to the extreme danger level within days after the one good rain we had. We had a lot of farmers and ranchers call in about burning and we advised them to err on the side of caution and not to burn and the majority of them did as was suggested, but some did not. We did have a rash of fires this past week, with three in one day which had all of our emergency units scrambling. Keep not only our fire fighters in your prayers but those around the country who are literally in the line of fire as we speak. Please do not burn right now, it is far too dangerous and not worth the risk to property and lives. In such cases that it is a must, make sure that you have your fire lines and plenty of mobile water support.
We have been very busy lately, as the jail log showed last week. I am sorry that I have not written lately, but every one of us has been pushing as hard as we can to keep up with our calls for service. When the economy drops off and it starts getting hot, we can always expect an increase in calls for service. We are seeing more thefts and disturbance calls, not to mention that every cow in San Saba County wants to get out at the same time. We have also seen a huge increase in the number of transports of inmates that we have to do. We have done 22 transports since the first of April and we don't see it slowing down at all. District Court is this week and we are expecting another busy day.
We spoke in Commissioners Court and worked on an opportunity with the jail budget. The problem with a budget is that there are so many unforeseen things that jump on you, and you still have to move forward. The Sheriff has three budgets and I believe that the jail has to be the worst of them all. The jail is something that the Sheriff is mandated to maintain and with dispatching and jailing being the same job, well it sure does create some windows of opportunity. There has been a large increase in the transporting of prisoners and mental patients as well as a large increase in the work load for the dispatch/jailers. The economy is a huge problem for law enforcement. When the economy takes a fall, our work load increases to the point of crazy and when you add the word drought to the mixture in a county like ours, well that is one heck of a recipe for budget opportunities. In the past two years we have seen an increase of almost 60% in the Sheriff's Office calls for service. We are answering more and more calls and still doing our best to stay proactive and work those remote areas. Thank you for all the assistance.
While speaking of criminal patrol, there are a few things that I need to bring up. The first is that we are still seeing a lot of phone and mail schemes and fraud out there. They are focusing on our elderly and we all need to do our best to protect both our family and our neighbors. Please report any questionable activity that you might become aware of. The next is trash, it belongs in a can and not on the side of our roadways. We are going to hammer on anyone who is caught illegally dumping in this county and may even contact the EPA if it involves our rivers and /or creeks. They have a way of imposing fines that will get a person's attention and quick. Stop painting our bridges out in the county. Maxwell's crossing and Ellis crossing are beautiful places, where we take our families swimming in the river, but leave your paint at home or we will be putting you up for the night or maybe the weekend. Clean up after yourself when you are enjoying our beautiful outdoor resources because you do not want us to be cleaning up for you, that can and will be expensive.
On a final note, I feel that I have to weigh in on a very important issue facing this county at the polls on Saturday. This county faces a vote which on the ballot states "the legal sale of ALL alcoholic beverages to include mixed drinks." I have spoken with several individuals out in the county and they are of the belief that this election is only for the sale of drinks in a restaurant with your meals. If that was what this vote was about, then I might not be for it or against it but either way I would not weigh in on the subject. The vote this Saturday is not about that, but the key word All on the ballot is in fact what we are facing. This vote, more than anything in the past affects us in law enforcement to the extent that as the Sheriff, I have to voice my concern on this election. I believe in the individual's right to drink, and I will protect a person's right to do so in a legal manner. This can and will effect some business owners in a positive financial way and might even bring in some new folks to San Saba. Yet, what concerns me is what is the real cost of the other things that can come out of this new alcohol proposal. We in law enforcement and the court system have seen the effect of alcohol on the community first hand every day. It has a devastating effect on not only the community but the economy as well. Law enforcement deals with alcohol related incidents more than any other problem in our county. I am not going to go through the statistics and give you a bunch of numbers but only going to advise you that as your elected Sheriff it is the biggest problem that we face in this county. We are working hard to provide you proactive law enforcement in the Sheriff''s Office and to stay as involved in this community as possible. Yet, I fear that if this new alcohol proposal passes, the way that it is written, it can and will strain an already taxed law enforcement and judicial system beyond its resources. We will continue to serve this community to the best of our abilities but before you vote this Saturday, I pray that each and every one of you will pray and search your heart and mind for what you truly believe is the way that you want to see San Saba as your home, change and grow and then vote your heart.
God bless and let the people decide at the polls with the right information and a clear understanding of what it is and how it can and will affect this county.
Contact us at 325-372-5551 or 5432 if you have anything to report or in an emergency call 911 and as always thank you for all your support and prayers.