Inmate housing options narrow Opiate addiction strains Municipal Court Lillian E Cowdrey Catherine A Houk Warriors win Jim Neu XC Invite Week 2 football roundup Broncos unbeaten at 4-0 Lady Broncos compete in Bob Schul XC Invite Ronnie L Day Nettie F Lightner Wallace sentenced to life in prison Court filing links Anderson and Sawyers Man killed in Fatal Crash on US 52 Henry E Fields Anleah W Stamper Maxine M Garrett U.S. 68 reopens Drought ends for Lady Rockets G-Men rise to 3-1 with back-to-back victories Rockets cruise to 4-0 win over Jays Lady Broncos start off SBAAC American Division play with 3-2 win over Goshen Week one football roundup Fair board president Orville Whalen passes away Wallace guilty, faces life in prison Zoning ordinance approved for Village of Sardinia Felicity man killed in boat crash Evelyn E Smith Peggy A Wiederhold Thomas P Neary Warriors kick off SHAC play Lady Broncos stand at 2-1 Late Devil goals lead to Lady Warrior loss David R Carrington Sr Crum arraigned on murder charge Sawyers faces new charge Aberdeen’s fiscal officer resigns 12th Annual Golf Tournament by Veterans Home Aug. 26 Betty G Schatzman Robert L McAfee Paul V Tolle Herbert D Smith Helen R Little Eugene M Press Lady Broncos out to defend league title SHAC holds volleyball preview Lady Warriors packed with experience, talent for 2017 fall soccer campaign Georgetown’s Sininger off to excellent start for 2017 golf season New response team for overdoses Drugged driving becoming a bigger problem Danny F Dickson Eva J Smith Michael R Stewart Sr Charles McRoberts III Marsha B Thigpen Michael L Chinn William A Coyne Jr Woman found dead in Ripley A girl’s life on the gridiron Rockets face G-Men in preseason scrimmage 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk draws a crowd William C Latham Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5

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.

I think it is important to be open minded about any and all ideas they come up with. I think it is important to remember that ultimately the decision will come from the ballot box, not a Task Force or public office. That is the power of democracy. How about when the time comes, we use it.

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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