Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden said his office’s needs for 2018 are already set in the form of our budget which was approved for the 2018.
“County tax revenue is down and we have had to make several cuts to the budget which is expected in this economy that is hurting. We feel the Sheriff’s Office is still on solid ground and will be able to meet the needs of our department and citizens of Osage County” he said.
“We hope for the 2018 year that crime, violence, drug abuse, alcohol-related crimes and accidents will be reduced. With this hopeful New Year we would like to gain more tax revenues in Osage County and even for the State of Oklahoma.”
He said increased jail population will likely be an issue as well.
“We are expecting our inmate population to increase after dealing with the effects of house bill 780 and 781. We have seen the population increase since the law first took effect this year. We are blessed to have a great working relationship with our judges’ and the district attorney’s office,” he said. “With their assistance we have been able to keep the numbers manageable despite the effect to get ahead of the increased number of inmates.”
In the area, law enforcement officials are reporting high hopes for 2018.
“We have great expectations for 2018,” said Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland.
“Through the work of the city manager and the city finance director we are at full strength. They went to the City Council and we have 62 commissioned officers and we are blessed to have that. We want to maintain those staffing levels.”
He said the added manpower will enable the department to be more well rounded.
“This frees us up for greater community service, crime reduction and we can get more involved in community policing,” he said. “We can increase our patrols in areas where it is vitally needed.”
He said the BPD is also working to get more into cyberspace.
“We are developing we hope, an online reporting system for what I call minor crimes … rather than give us a call or drive down here or whatever, (people) can go online,” he said. “There’s a lot of departments that have that.”
Nowata County Sheriff Sandy Hadley said her department also is looking to the digital realm.
“I would like to see Nowata County become digital and also obtain a 9-1-1 system as we are the only county in Oklahoma that does not have one,” she said. “Also I think one of the biggest issues with Nowata County Sheriff’s Department is that we are not fully staffed. So a big goal would be to work on more revenue for the county and in turn staffing for the Sheriff’s Office. We could employ an investigator and not only work cases more efficiently rather than just answer and settle daily calls and emergencies.”
She said training also is a priority.
“I would like to see money be able to be earmarked for training for the deputies as well as continue to grow the reserve program,” she said. “And finally I would like to remodel the jail so that we are updated to standards and able to house efficiently and safely. I think the foundation is laid to work towards those goals it all comes down to working together as a community & County and making law enforcement aand public safety the priorities.”
Washington County Undersheriff Steve Johnson said the Sheriff’s Office also wants to be working on training.
“Our profession is an evolving one in as much as that the law is not stagnant it changes, public perception changes, so with all that seeking out the right training to keep our organization moving forward effectively will be critical,” he said. “Our community has always expected professional service and rightly so, so that said, our goal is to meet and or exceed their expectations.”
Ramona Police Chief Dave Lynd said construction for their department is in the near future.
“We will be beginning construction on our new police department soon,” he said. “The offices will be located on the north end of our current city hall. We are also looking at a donation or will be purchasing, if we can find a good one at a good price, another patrol car this year to replace one of the older, high mileage cars.”
He said other expectations for the new year include “continued partnership with Caney Valley School District, supporting and building on the schools current anti bullying program (OLWEUS), and looking at possibly increasing our staffing through our reserve program to provide more coverage to our citizens.”
“We will also take advantage of as much training as we can to improve and increase our skill sets” he said.