Benton County Sheriff's Dispatch

Benton County Sheriff's Department
Hello Benton County and welcome to the New Year!
I am pleased to be bringing you good news and positivity with this first dispatch of the new year. While I sit here contemplating how I want to word my dispatch, I reflect on all the negative information I have had to pass along to you over my tenure as your Sheriff. Often times my stomach was churning as I wrote to you about whatever terrible situation had taken place in our beautiful community, not so this time!
First, I want to start by thanking the Benton County Commissioners for investing in our community. Yes, you read that correctly. I want to publicly thank them for raising the starting wage of your Benton County Deputies to $18.00 per hour! There are always growing pains when change occurs. There has been a lot of change within your Sheriff’s Office over the past five years, and we will continue to have more but it is positive change. With the increased pay we will slow the flow of quality staff leaving our office and area for higher wages. It is my intention to next look at ways of increasing the benefits for all of our county employees as well. Your Sheriff’s Office staff are not the only ones struggling with retirement and insurance benefits. We, the tax payers, save money by retaining quality employees in our community.
We are on track to being fully staffed in the very near future, an environment we have only experienced for three short months since I have been in office. More deputies mean more patrolling, quicker response times and more time available to spend on your calls to service. Having more staff means that we can spend more time on training. Training and education is the difference between professional, quality, effective law enforcement and mediocracy.
We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves in order to serve you better.
Your Benton County Detention Center is running at full capacity. A few years ago this would have meant thousands of taxpayer dollars being paid out to other agencies in the state to house our detainees. With your new facility, it means earned income to our county for services rendered to our federal partners. We are able to house 60 federal detainees on a continuous basis and still have ample room for our own detainees, generating the $1,500,000.00+ in income, (60 x 365 x $78.50 = $1,719,150.00) that I’ve discussed with you previously. Please keep in mind the numbers reflected here are gross income numbers. The cost of food alone to feed the federal detainees will be in the neighborhood of $118,000.00. This does not include our own detainees which are projected to be in the $59,000 range to cover food, medical, utilities and phone among other costs necessary to run a detention facility.
I will take this opportunity to remind you that the Office of Sheriff belongs to you. With a few exceptions, everything this office does, is available to you. My budget, where your tax dollars are spent and how, all of the detention center income and expenditures or anything else you would like to know, is here for you. Your Sheriff’s Office door is always open to you.
Lastly, I want to thank the Warsaw Knights of Columbus, Benton Blue Community Christmas and the Friends of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. These groups, all their volunteers and members and the businesses and citizens that contributed to them have brought many blessings to the Sheriff’s Office staff through their efforts. They are a huge part of what makes this community great and their support of our local law enforcement, well I just can’t find the words to say how much it means to me and all of us here. Our sincere thanks for all you do.
Sheriff Knox