Sheriff Bond answers critics

March 25, 2008

Now that the dust has settled, I feel the need to address my opponent’s approach in this election. Like the suspense of a rodeo bull ride, we’ve seen a flurry of activity, coupled with some exhilarating music over the loudspeaker, and the crowd takes a breath.

It is interesting that words such as “mismanagement” and “lack of accountability” have been uttered when great strides have been made in the operation at the sheriff’s office. Our successes of generating income offset two-thirds of last year’s jail budget, and last month alone we were a few dollars short of reaching $100,000 in revenue.

Missouri is one of the few states that lacks basic jail standards, and I  helped start that becoming a reality with legislation last year.

Fitness for confinement standards do not create a “revolving door,” but ensure inmates don’t have a medical condition, such as alcohol poisoning, that precludes  confinement. This involved less than 40 of the more than 4,400 individuals that passed through our doors last year.

The .25 percent blood alcohol level is established by our jail medical provider, not some random number I have “pulled out of the air.” Sadly, unfit inmates have been presented to our facility and that practice had to stop.

The suggestion that the sheriff’s office hires an outside agency to serve its search warrants could not be further from the truth. Six counties  form a task force to assist in narcotics and gang investigations, but responsibility remains with the sheriff. We actively work with numerous other agencies, including the Sedalia Police Department, in crime investigation and reduction. Recent prosecutions continue to show cooperative agreements are present. Teaming with the local school district to institute a school resource officer program shows great promise.

Being the sheriff is not the same as being a police officer. It is that  and much more. Administrative and jail issues, court security, prisoner extraditions, and civil process service must intertwine with patrol, investigating crime, and arresting offenders. No operation is perfect, but our accomplishments greatly outweigh the errors. And for that I appreciate and ask for your continued support.

Back to my analogy. Be careful in allowing Pettis County to be taken for a ride on this bull. Most riders fail to stay on long enough to hear the horn sound, and for those that do — well, the ride was over in just a few seconds anyway.

Kevin C. Bond

Pettis County Sheriff