Michael D Karos Jr John H Kirk Janet R Meyer Patsy A Clark Dorothy J Schroeder Broncos trample the G-Men, 73-40 Rockets down the Devils, 59-55 Seven new inductees to enter WBHS Sports Hall of Fame Lady Warriors ascend to 13-1 Broncos finish 2nd of 22 teams in Hammer and Anvil Invitational Hedwig Lambert Billie G Walkup Some county offices may be moved G’town Council approves 2017 budget Family doubles in size with adoption Sardinia Mayor looks forward to 2017 2017 Fayetteville Firemen’s Festival set Floyd Newberry Jr Donna F Lang Gene Warren Dwight L Fulton Virginia A O’Neil Anne L Durbin-Thomas Marietta Dunn Charles L Latchford Broncos win ‘Battle of 32’ Lady Broncos claim win over Bethel-Tate Jays top Warriors, fall to Mustangs Lady Warriors claim top spot in SHAC with win over Lynchburg-Clay Broncos buck the Lions, 54-51 James N DeHaas Questions still linger in Stuart explosion New direction for Brittany Stykes case New public safety director now on duty in Brown Co. Fayetteville Mayor anticipates a good year for the village Chamber of Commerce announces awardees Robert Bechdolt Carl E Lindsey Audrey F Maher LeJeune Howser Tammy L Connor Henry C Mayhall Jr Chad Spilker Frank W Kemmeter Jr Wanda J Howard Dorothy Huff Colon C Malott Eastern varsity teams come out on top to capture Brown County Holiday Classic crowns WBHS Army JROTC hosts rifle shooting competition Bronco varsity wrestling team unbeaten at 8-0 Blue Jays finish 1-1 in Ripley Pepsi Classic Mona G Van Vooren Hiram Beardsworth Avery W McCleese Ethel E Long Children learn safety from ‘Officer Phil’ Microchips can help locate lost pets Local GOP plans trip to Washington Three sentenced in common pleas Estel Earhart Roy Stewart Tenacious ‘D’ leads Lady Jays to victory over Blanchester on day one of Ripley Pepsi Classic Fayetteville’s Thompson, Jester earn SWOFCA All-City honors Jays fall to Blanchester on first day of Pepsi Classic Ticket details announced for OHSAA basketball and wrestling state tournaments Jerri K McKenzie Randy D Vaughn Georgetown JR/SR high to have new library Georgetown saw many improvements in 2016 Three sentenced in common pleas court Esther O Brown G-Men go on scoring rampage for 77-41 win over Cardinals Warriors climb to 4-2 with wins over West Union, Lynchburg Rockets top Whiteoak for first win Shirley M Bray Carter Lumber closes in G’town Wenstrup looks forward to 2017 Seven indicted by county grand jury John Ruthven holds pre-Christmas Open House New pet boarding facility now open in Georgetown Denver W Emmons Carl W Liebig Mary L McKinley Blake C Roush Louis A Koewler William D Cornetet Western Brown dedicates Perry Ogden Court Lady Warrior win streak hits 5 Lady Rockets wrap up tough week on the hardwood Barons rally for win over Broncos Georgetown to hire two paid Firefighter/EMT’s Noble receives statewide law enforcement award County helps family in need after house fire Flashing signs banned in G’town historic district ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ at Gaslight Thelma L Ernst Roy L Bruce Ken Leimberger Cathye J Bunthoff Lending a holiday helping hand

People it’s a Task Force not a decision machine

So there is definitely some disconnect here with the the Criminal Justice Task Force and the community. Maybe I am the one to blame for this problem. Maybe the newspaper did not do a good job of explaining to people everything behind it. I think some people fail to realize the Task Force is a suggestion box from the County Commissioners. They aren’t making decisions.

Why was it created? I think the purpose was to evaluate cost and look how other places around operate their jail and criminal justice systems. Brown County has a serious problem and I think this Task Force is a good first step in solving it, but they are in no way the final step in the problem. They are only the beginning of the process.

Now, I know some people may believe the Task Force was chosen secretly in some dark room in a basement somewhere but no, it wasn’t at all. The County Commissioners had a list of names, probably 50 or so, to call and ask if they wanted to be on the Task Force. Probably as many people declined the opportunity as accepted. The Commissioners sought balance – politically, geographically, and the kind of jobs people had. It is why the Common Pleas Administrator, Assistant Prosecutor, and a former County Deputy all on the Task Force. The Commissioners went through the list calling people to see who wanted to accept the duty of the Task Force. It was actually quite a boring process – nothing shady – no back room deals or anything. Just a list, some phone calls, and a lot of help from their clerks in the office.

As for the numbers….people will tell you it is misleading or will tell you they are inaccurate because they remember how it was when they worked at the department. Here is the issue, not every cost comes from the Sheriff’s budget. The County itself pays for a lot of the jail and the Sheriff never sees it. Imagine if the Sheriff’s Department had to pay their water bill or electric bill with only what they had in their budget. They couldn’t afford workers at that point, but it is in fact a cost to the jail, even if it is an unseen cost. The jail itself cost about $2 million per year to operate and can only hold 38 inmates. I am not expert on cost analysis, but that seems staggering. Now if you can hold 70+ inmates, the cost are curbed significantly and are more in-line with what the County is paying elsewhere.

The moral of the story is these guys are a suggestion box. They are tasked with looking at all angles with a new set of eyes and bring new ideas to the table to see what can be done. They are not deciding what the County is going to do. It is a lot easier to look at ideas when the cost has been laid out in front of you verses trying to backtrack and complete the same thing over again. This process will take time and lots of it. Could be a year, could be two or three years to evaluate all the options.

I know this much, the Task Force is comprised of people who want what is best for the County and the citizens. They care about making sure money is used the best it can be while still getting the best use of law enforcement. They understand the struggles of investigating crimes while people are housed in Butler County. They understand the needs for jobs in the community and understand the importance of our law enforcement and corrections officers. The are working diligently to come up with the best ideas they can while keeping the best interests of the people in mind. I am sure everyone on the Task Force would tell you the same thing.

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By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

Brian Durham is Editor of the News Democrat/Ripley Bee

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2016 News Democrat