Whitesburg KY
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Sheriff gives thanks, warns of problems

Webb described how his vision of a large and well-equipped department had met with the reality of a small tax base as he addressed the August meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court on Monday. Webb told the court he wanted to take the opportunity to speak to the citizens of Letcher County and to thank the court for appropriating funds to hire two additional officers.

“In the four and a half years I’ve been here (Webb was elected Sheriff in 2002), I had planned for a large couldn’t do it based on the tax base. With the help of the government, we do have a full-time officer at the school, and bailiffs in the courts, and we took our tax money to get as many deputies as I could, but we still have to buy gas and other supplies.”

Webb told the court he was aware of questions about buying new patrol vehicles for his deputies, and said he had read comments concerning the issue in “Speak Your Piece,” a forum for readers which appears in The Mountain Eagle.

He said the need for decent ve hicles is always great, and that with the additional deputies he had to make certain he had enough cars to carry out all the transportation tasks delegated to his office by state law, including transporting prisoners from the Letcher County Jail to state penitentiaries and transporting mental patients to state hospitals.

“I’m a star in ‘Speak your Piece’,” Webb said. “But I thought I would say my part. We have to have cars. Most of the money for the cars comes from grants and coal severance taxes. We still owe on the three new (Dodge Charger) cruisers but they will be paid off when we get our share from seized drug funds. Our uniforms and office supplies are paid for by forfeitures from drug busts. I want the citizens to know that we aren’t wasting money on cars. You have to replace cars as you go.”

Webb later said the cost of the new cruisers was less than it would have cost to maintain fiveyear old vehicles considering the amount of use each car gets. He also said uniforms cost $170 each.

Webb also talked about the serious drug problem in Letcher County.

“We’re in a bad spot on drugs,” said Webb. “We have young people who can’t get a job because they can’t pass a drug test.”

Webb said some drug abusers have turned to burglary to finance their habits, and a number of break-ins have occurred recently at area churches. Webb said he is working with Kentucky State Police to try to solve the break-ins. He said there are several promising leads which should lead to an arrest.

Webb also told the members of the court he wanted to thank them for helping him hire two additional deputies to address this sort of situation and to increase road patrols.

“People don’t realize how short-handed we are,” said Webb. “The state police love it since we have the extra deputies. We have our dispatchers back, too. The people of Letcher County deserve to be able to pick up the phone and have someone respond. Thanks to the fiscal court, we can do that and I want to thank you. (District Five Magistrate) Wayne Fleming learned how he could help us at a meeting and then did it. This is Letcher County’s Sheriff’s Department, not Danny Webb’s department. I want to make the citizens of Letcher County proud of their department.”

Judge/Executive Jim Ward told Webb that until he was elected judge he hadn’t realized how little money Webb has each year to fund his office. Ward said he was particularly grateful Webb had arranged to have one of his deputies live at Fishpond Lake, which is owned by the county and has been vandalized on countless occasions over the years. The presence of a deputy has cut down on vandalism and other crime at the lake considerably, Ward said, adding that if people want to use Fishpond Lake for something beside legal recreation they can now expect to be arrested.

Webb also introduced his two newest deputies, Mike Dingus and Brian Damron. Dingus was chief of police in Jenkins before joining the department and Damron was a police officer in Jenkins. Webb also introduced a number of other deputies including Lieutenant Kenny Terry, Sergeant Mike Rose, who Webb said had been with him since he took office, Mickey Stines, bailiff for the Letcher County District Court, Letcher County Central High School Resource Officer Bert Slone, Jason Boggs, bailiff for the Letcher County Circuit Court, and Lashawna Frazier, who manages the office. He said another deputy, Jason Bates, is currently attending the police academy in Richmond and deputies Jamie Profitt and Crystal Davis were unable to attend the meeting as was Eugene Slone, the department’s victim’s advocate.

Webb also warned senior citizens to beware of scam artists who will come to their homes and knock on their doors with a variety of stories but who are really casing people’s homes for robberies and other scams. He said his department is working with senior citizens and asking that they call dispatchers to report suspicious visits.

Magistrate Fleming added it is very important that people be able to reach a dispatcher in the sheriff’s office when they report a crime because 911 calls can be heard over a police scanner.

“The citizens of Letcher County deserve to have the ability to talk to me and the way to do that is to call the sheriff’s office dispatcher,” said Webb.

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