Burglaries are on the rise in Edgar County! But did you know that they are not always getting investigated promptly?
There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, the response times are almost never the Deputies’ fault. If they’re on other calls or working an accident, they simply can’t get there right away.
This is especially true on nights when only one Deputy is on duty, which happens more than you know. This is simply unacceptable.
There have also been occasions where Deputies have had to drive substandard vehicles across the county on calls. This still happens, and it’s also unacceptable.
Now, the way it works is that you have to prioritize calls. If the call is an active alarm, burglary in progress, or home invasion, then that call jumps to the top of the list, because people are in immediate danger.
Taking a theft or burglary report would be a somewhat lower priority, but it should get done as promptly as possible. Information gained can help identify the criminal, patterns to the crimes, and other details that can help you solve not only that crime, but others as well.
But there’s another problem. Edgar County has not had a Detective for quite some time now. To me, this reflects a lack of priority and attention to this troubling rise in burglaries. I’ve talked about this before, too.
Having a policy where deputies have to investigate their own cases is ridiculous. Not that they’re not capable, because of course they are. But it’s impossible for them to work the road, answer all the calls and then follow up on each and every burglary.
As a result, some crimes just get shoved down the stack. Some don’t get investigated at all. Response times are an hour or more. Maybe days. Maybe never.
It also massively drives up the overtime. It’s come to my attention that one Deputy alone has recently worked 60 hours overtime in just two weeks! And this is becoming normal.
We could pay for a full-time Detective just from the overtime alone being generated by this ridiculous policy. It wouldn’t cost the taxpayers any more money. Proper follow up by a detective will result in more information that will solve more crimes.
The rest of my strategy includes intentionally increasing patrol in areas known to have criminal activity. Just being seen is a huge deterrent to criminals. Plus, if you see a suspicious vehicle in a known crime area, you can make an investigative stop.
I would establish and promote an effective Crime Stopper Tip Line and we would follow up on the tips. I would also work more closely with adjacent counties because much of this crime is crossing county lines.
Finally, having an off-duty Deputy “stake out” known high crime areas at limited, selected times, would also give us a chance to catch criminals “in the act.” At the very least, it could make the response times much faster.
This would be a much more productive use of some of that overtime. If you use a part-time Deputy, it’s even less expensive. But it takes a real commitment to addressing the issue.
As a working Sheriff, I will take these problems very seriously, and do everything I can to fix them. It won’t break the budget. And we can get things done.
2018 Candidate for Edgar County Sheriff