Last month, the Sheriff announced the arrival of two new vehicles, “paid for in part with a USDA grant.” First of all, I’m glad they got them. They desperately need them.
But there are a couple things you need to know. The Sheriff is taking credit for getting a $25,000 grant, but did you know that it was actually a senior County Board member and another County official that really did all the work?
The documents were all signed by the board member, and supporting documents were prepared by the County Clerk. I have found no documents showing the Sheriff was ever involved in the grant process.
Furthermore, when I asked for the grant documents (three times) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Edgar County Sheriff Department refused to give them to me. I’ve been told the Sheriff was overheard saying “Don’t give him a damn thing.”
This is either illegal, or just plain dumb. If they have copies, and not providing them, they’re acting illegally. It’s public information, and you have a right to know about it.
If they don’t have copies, they either weren’t involved at all, or just can’t manage their office. Who doesn’t keep records?
So I got them from another County Office. The grant was approved in August of 2017 and USDA notified ECSD of the approval in early September 2017. The vehicles were FINALLY purchased a YEAR later in September 2018. A year later!
Who takes that long? The Board member did his job and got it approved, a YEAR ago. So why the massive delay on the Sheriff’s part? There is still some question in my mind whether they missed the deadline to actually receive the funds.
The Sheriff is now proudly driving his new $36,000 2018 F150 Pickup, but it’s completely unsuitable for road duty. No takedown lights for vehicle stops. No alley lights for burglary investigations, no markings, no emergency radio console, no cage for transporting suspects. But he’s driving it.
Let’s talk about the new $32,000 Explorer that was picked up last month. It was briefly parked behind the jail for the publicity picture, and then promptly removed and has been MIA ever since. The Sheriff told the County Board they are “just waiting on lights.”
They took a year to order it, months to go pick it up, and now they’ve had it in their possession for a month and it is STILL not on the road. Deputies are STILL driving older, less reliable vehicles.
Is this how you want your tax dollars spent? Personally, I would never have gotten a pickup truck for myself, nice as it is. I would have gotten two suitable road vehicles, and made sure the Deputies were driving them.
I would never have waited a YEAR to get them, and I wouldn’t be personally driving a vehicle unsuitable for patrol. But patrol is important to me.
When elected, I suppose I’ll have to drive it, but you can be sure I’ll put lights, siren, radios, markings and a cage in it. I will use it on patrol. And the missing Explorer? I hope they find it soon. You paid for it.
2018 Candidate for Edgar County Sheriff