Sheriff's Dispatch

Sheriff Eric Knox
Benton County Sheriff
Hello Benton County, we have been busy here at the Sheriff’s Office since my last Dispatch.  We’ve been working on the jail to improve its condition by adding a ventilation system to help reduce moisture.  The “Bat Lady” returned for a follow up and informed me we had over 9000 bats in the attic after reviewing the thermal video of the evening fly out she recorded earlier this year, (yes you read that right, over 9000 bats.)  Measures are being taken to stop their return in the Spring by closing off access points.
Our body armor became a reality for all of our deputies. Thanks to the support and generosity of our great community and an additional grant that Deputy Storm Walker and Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission co-wrote.  If you remember, our initial grant was not accepted.  Our Commissioners were ready to step in with the final funding if needed.  We were fortunate that everything came together to ensure our deputies are all protected.
Speaking of funding, it is that time of year when all office holders in the county are putting pencil to paper for the yearly budgets.  I’ve quickly learned that budget is another word for stress.  Common sense does not apply when it comes to a county’s budget, thanks to the state’s mandates and rules relating to these matters, (not the Commissioners’ fault.)  I’m working very closely with the Commissioners on our immediate needs as well as our future needs in manpower and equipment.  I hope to add badly needed deputies to our ranks and additional safety gear like Tasers.  The newly formed nonprofit group, Friends of Benton County Sheriff’s Office, will be writing grants to aide in the purchase of, or the reimbursement of, funds to the county for equipment and possibly staffing. I will keep you posted on our progress. If you would like to find out more about the group they have a Facebook page or you can email them at
If you haven’t heard by now, we are hammering out a new jail proposal.  My staff and I spent several hours today with an architect from HMN going over a preliminary layout of the new facility.  This new design is a bare bones, common sense approach and a very valid solution to our outdated and overcrowded failing jail.  The county is working very hard to review various locations to build our facility and has narrowed it down to two locations, ones that I agree are excellent locations.  After negotiations are complete I will post all the details. 
The last day for our proposal to make the April election is January 23 so we are all doing our part to meet that deadline.  I will have all the layouts, facts, figures and explanations for you to consider after that date.  I will answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns in a series of Town Hall Meetings.  This jail process, like my office, will be transparent.  I will present every fact in a manner everyone can understand and take the time, one on one if needed, to show you what you want and need to know. 
As Always, I am Proud to Serve You.
Sheriff Knox