On protective status
These days, it’s a good thing to know who’s on your side and who isn’t.
I am retired, pay taxes, and am concerned about money and budgets. However, there are things that are essential for a well-maintained community that are definitely worth paying for. Good schools, safe roads, and public safety come to mind.
The Jan. 10 Darlington Republican Journal featured two articles about a prominent Milwaukee area lawyer’s idea to take protective status from some sheriff’s deputies, namely, the jailer/dispatchers. Although this attorney has no law enforcement experience, he’s going against the better judgment and years of wisdom of our sheriff, chief deputy, district attorney and every police chief in Lafayette County.
To be clear, protective status is not a bonus, not a handout, or some benefit. It is a necessity for handling dangerous and often brutal criminals while being locked in with them for 12-hour shifts. Unique to our county, the deputies also have to handle 911 calls that never stop and coordinate necessary help. This county is getting a bargain in that our deputies do two jobs and get paid less than other counties where their deputies handle only one. They are underpaid and under stress.
The lawyer, who charged our county a hefty five-figure sum just last year (he has more than 40 other counties as well), says it will save our county money … one study said $23,000, another said $60,000 per year. Sadly, some county supervisors seem enamored by the lawyer’s pitch and believe him without due diligence, expert advice, and the fact that it has tanked and cost heavy legal fees in other counties. Nice payday for a county labor lawyer, though.
Eight of our 11 deputies will leave if the protective status, which has been their safety net for 30 years, is removed. I can’t blame them. I too, handled prisoners for this county for seven years. It is not something most of you would want to do or have the skills to do.
Remember, these deputies are our first line of defense. They coordinate everything from a business being robbed, a person having chest pains, or a house that’s on fire, to a suspicious character that’s lurking around the school. Re-staffing with green recruits is a recipe for disaster because seconds count in a crisis.
Call your county supervisor and tell them this proposal is fundamentally wrong. Tell them our community safety should not be determined by a Milwaukee lawyer, but should be left to our duly elected sheriff.
Also, demand a roll call, open session vote on this issue … no closed-door, back-alley deals. After all, you have a right to know who’s on your side … the sheriff and deputies of Lafayette County have always been!
Anyone not aware of the message recently issued by the Congressional Budget Office needs to wake up and smell the roses.
The Congressional Budget Office stated clearly, without qualification, that the path of overspending and debt accumulation this country is presently on is unsound and unsustainable. Within a year or two the rating firms will downgrade the national economy again, thus causing a major increase in credit costs at all levels. They will most likely find fault with the Federal Reserve Board’s tendency to simply print more money when they think it is needed rather than being concerned with the inflation it produces and the hardship for persons trying to live on a fixed income. This is a cruel tax that is mostly hidden from the general public. But it shows up in smaller paychecks and more costly expenditures for family living expenses. Thus, as reported, 1 in 4 families are now tapping into their retirement funds.
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