Today's Letters: Minor offenses run up jail tab
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published April 27, 2007
It appears the overcrowding at the Pasco County jail is the direct result of the arrest policy of the Sheriff's Office and the jail staff's inability to process out inmates in a timely fashion.
I don't think shipping them elsewhere is the answer at a cost of $5,200 a day, based on 100 inmates to be transferred.
Now that Sheriff Bob White has launched a Web site, the public is free to see the recent arrests and offenders in custody. Anyone that would view this Web site would see many of the arrests are unnecessary and costly to the taxpayers.
Consider the paperwork, housing, feeding, transport time of the deputy and the release procedures are a waste of man hours and taxpayer money.
Some of the arrests are as simple as failure to notify motor vehicle officials of an address change within 20 days. How about, "registration expired four months" or "driving while suspended or revoked with knowledge"?
These obviously are violations of Florida statutes, but should they be an offense warranting an arrest?
The list of minor charges goes on and on. Of course, we as taxpayers want our sheriff's department to protect and serve our community, however, we don't need to expand the jail at a cost of millions of dollars to house short-term, misdemeanor offenders.
The focus should be on serious crime and traffic issues.
Why can't some of these offenders be released and, in the event they fail to appear in court, issue a bench warrant and then take them into custody with a second charge of failure to appear?
There apparently also is a lot of work involved in releasing an inmate, as it takes six to 10 hours to process out after an offender posts bail. That is too many personnel hours for minor charges.
Perhaps rethinking policies governing offenses warranting arrests might reduce the population of the jail, reduce personnel hours at the jail and save money for the already overburdened taxpayers.'
Pinellas County is releasing nonviolent misdemeanor offenders to reduce its jail population instead of relocating them at taxpayer expense.
Roger Munson, New Port Richey
Tolerating bullies brings more grief
Note found at school leads to teen's arrest April 22 story
A 16-year-old victim of bullying in school is suspended and might be expelled for venting his frustration with a threatening note. How many more mass murders will it take to persuade school officials to face and act upon the problem of classroom bullies?
Apparently principal Rick Mellin and assistant principal Joanne Glenn haven't yet learned anything from Columbine, etc.
I guess it's just easier to be another bully.
Gerald Barnes, Zephyrhills
Take-home cars costly to sheriff
It was a cause of concern when I read about the car break-ins including a sheriff's cruiser.
I feel these cars should not be brought home for two reasons: They include weapons and computers with privileged information and the vehicle could be used for the next shift of deputies rather than have to purchase a car for every officer.
Maybe we could afford more deputies without increasing the budget.
William Rodenbaugh, Hudson
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