Denise A McCleese Tommy E Vaughn Beulah M White Anthony Dozier Moore sentenced to 16 years in prison for assault Tea Party holds candidate forum Hamersville Police Dept. introduces newest officer Russellville Council takes action on closing alleys Anthony R Traylor Caryl J Eyre Jays clinch 2nd in SHAC Division I Week 7 football roundup Battle between Eastern, Ripley ends in tie Broncos are SBAAC American Divison champs Lady Rockets enter final game of regular season on 3-game win streak Lady G-Men claim wins over Manchester, Bethel-Tate Lady Broncos win at New Richmond, rise to first in SBAAC American Division standings Judge approves sale of hospital Trump losing support in Ohio delegation Manhunt ends with arrest of alleged bank robber Joyce A Mignerey George W Kilgore Vernon Creighton Brittany A Perkins Sister Jane Stier Jeff Bess Russell Rockwell Lady Warriors looking to get back to winning ways G-Men rise to 2nd in SBAAC Nat’l Division Western Brown volleyball team jumps to 12-6 with wins over Norwood, CNE Week six football roundup Track champions determined at MRP in an exciting night of racing action Sectional tourney play begins for Western Brown girls tennis Phillips, Sininger advance to district golf tourney Christopher W Baker Sherry A Napier Betty L Kelley Virginia E Deininger Shirley J Carr 2016 Brown County Fair comes to an end Coroner appeals ruling on Goldson investigation Ripley Federal merges with Southern Hills RUCK March set to raise veteran suicide awareness Louise I McCann Louise I McCann Jackie Garrison Kathy S Jordan Rockets rally for first league win Lady Broncos rise to 10-6 with win at Wilmington Broncos begin quest for SBAAC American Div. title Lady G-Men looking to bounce back from recent losses SHAC golf season in the books Lady Rockets top Whiteoak Fair Royalty chosen for 2016 Troop Box Ministry still going strong after 15 years Three sentenced in Common Pleas Alex K Miller Denvil Burchell Maneva H Teague Vincent A Cluxton Stanley J Brannock Robert L Dyer Mary L Phillips Broncos gallop to 9-0-1 with win over G-Men Tight battle continues for SBAAC American Division volleyball title Jays rally for win over Rockets Week 4 football roundup Sininger is SBAAC Nat’l Division Golfer of Year Lady Rockets top CCD, fall to CNE Janet R Reveal Paul D Hines Gas skimmers stealing identities Democrats meet in G’town Humane Society horses now up for adoption New ‘B-Fit Program’ at this year’s fair Drug Task Force marijuana eradication Cheryl L Sams Aaron S Cartwright Tommie E Stout Rockets soar past the Warriors, 5-0 G-Men place runner-up in Vern Hawkins XC Invite Lady Warriors cruise to victory over Fayetteville Broncos remain unbeaten at 6-0-1 Lady G-Men win at Ripley Week 3 football roundup Broncos lead after round two of SBAAC American Division play Ohana Music Festival a huge success Man charged with 292 counts of child porn possession G’Town Council resolves zoning issues, to hold public meeting on medical marijuana Chase pleads guilty to obscenity charges Georgetown Nativity Scene to be on display, much longer this year Georgetown Police Chief Rob Freeland, updates council on village happenings Jay R Crawford Kenneth James Verne Wisby, Sr Kenneth J Barber Olivette F Corbett David E Kelsey, Sr Betty A Stegbauer Virginia McConnaughey

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.

By Brian Durham

Brian Durham is Editor of the News Democrat/Ripley Bee

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