Monday, March 30, 2009

Law and Order in the Ozarks (Part XX): Sheriff's office upgrades equipment, jail still in use

The February 26, 2009 and March12, 2009, issues of the Newton County Times awaited my return from spring break, and they bring both good and bad news out for law enforcement officials there. The good news is in the February paper, which features the headline, "N.C.S.O. first to use digital radios." N.C.S.O. stands for the Newton County Sheriff's Office, and the story reports that the office is the first in the state to "cease transmitting radio signals and convert to the latest digital radio technology." The Sheriff is quoted: "Finally, Newton County is first in a positive way." The story further credits Sheriff Keith Slape with securing federal grant funds to finance purchase of the $26,000 Motorola system. The system also has a GPS feature that tracks the location of officers.

The bad news, if you will, is reported in the March 12 paper. There the headline is "Jail housed 25 inmates in February." The story notes that the jail is functioning under the watch of state Jail Standards officials. Read more about the county's jail travails here, collecting links. Other metrics for February are listed in the story:

Total inmate days: 83
Total cost: $343.50
Felony case files: 25
Total miles driven: 14,539
Total gallons of fuel used: 1,022.7
Money turned over to circuit court: $1,512.69
Money turned over to district court: $20,033.19
Citations issued: 99
Warrants served: 22
Number of outstanding warrants: 103
Amount outstanding warrants: $110,865.46

In other non-crime related stories:
  • "Gardening strategies for economic problems" reports on a program of the Newton County Extension Office that encourages residents to plant vegetable gardens to lower their food costs.
  • "Storm recovery recapped" is about the local electric cooperative's handling of the late January ice storm.
  • "Schools adding lifetime sports to list of extracurricular activities" is about local schools' adoption of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission shooting sports programs.
  • "County addressing, mapping proposed" tells of a visit from the Arkansas Geographic Information Office advocating a uniform physical addressing system for the county. Such a system would facilitate delivery of "modern services" such as parcel and mail delivery, as well as "enhanced emergency 9-1-1 telecommunications."

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