In order to maximize our existing personnel in patrol, I am making a really tough decision effective March 1. We are going to cease trying to stretch our resources in order to respond to all calls and try to gain additional officer investigative time by prioritizing some calls for service. We have been forced into this strategy by being denied requested staff additions of patrol officers during the last two budget cycles.

I have been reluctant to take this step as we have made good progress since PACNET has been fully funded in 2005. The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for our county has documented the link between drugs and other criminal activity.

The last thing we should be doing is reducing the pressure on criminals in our county. I am, however, bound by my budget. The prioritization of calls is a risky strategy and not one I implement by choice. We plan to begin this policy in small steps starting with three types of calls for service - burglaries, alarms and animal complaints.

We will continue to provide felony investigations as we have conducted in the past. We will institute changes in our response policies for these three identified calls. After a trial period, the changes will be evaluated and may be made permanent.

The changes in a direct response to a burglary call for service will hinge on the length of time from occurrence of that crime to the reporting, knowledge of suspects, and evidence taken and left at the scene. We will take a report clerically on all such burglary reports and assign a case number for insurance purposes. Our sergeants will still review these reports. You may complete these forms in person, mail them in or download them online from our Web site once the policy is instituted.

Deputies will respond to animal complaints including all potential and dangerous dog complaints, dog bite complaints, and dogs killing livestock. Deputies will not respond to dogs at large or leash law violations. I have repeatedly requested funding for animal control. I am forced into prioritizing response to dangerous animals and human criminal actions.

We will respond to alarms from commercial businesses, alarms reporting room-to-room movement and when a reporting party is present. If a deputy is in the area prior to the alarm and not engaged in a priority investigation they may respond at their discretion.

We'll implement these changes, monitor their affect and decide whether to make them permanent and look to other ways to maximize time to serve you.

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