"There hasn't been a lack of business at all," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times about the amount of services provided by staff members at the department. "Calls come in all the time from residents seeking help."
Although exact records for the entire year have yet to be completed, Heaton said approximately 18,000 calls were taken by dispatchers, with more coming in as the clock ticks off the final hours of 2010.
"Some of the calls we can't do anything with because they are outside our scope of authority, like being civil in nature," Heaton said. "Others, well, let's say there's a broad range of calls to the department."
From calls of people seeking directions to yard sales, looking for unknown phone numbers or addresses of lost loved ones and friends, to people reporting various utility outages, dispatchers, who are on duty around the clock, try to be helpful.
However, the calls reporting crimes outnumber the absurd.
"Probably the most intense call we got last year was the shooting and subsequent stand off in Bowling Green Sept. 12," Heaton said. "For a small department, we're a busy department."
Although there are supposed to be 13 active deputies within the CCSD, Heaton said two personnel changes during the year, and with one officer out on medical leave and another just entering the field-training portion of the new hire process, the department is currently understaffed.
"We currently have 10 deputies actively in the field available to respond to calls 24-7," Heaton said.
Of the 978 suspects booked into the Clay County Justice Center during 2010, officials confirmed 735 were male, 241 were female and two were juveniles booked into the facility after being waived into adult court proceedings as of records dated Sept. 30. (Heaton said detainment records for juveniles taken into custody are not kept by the facility due to privacy issues regarding their cases.)
"Since then, there have probably been another 200 arrested," Heaton said. "And the year isn't over yet."
Officials also provided information that showed 23 applications were filed on behalf of inmates for the work-release program, with 10 denied.
In addition, officials confirmed 60 people (52 male/eight female) were booked into the CCJC to serve a total of 329 days of "weekend commitment" as part of their sentencing agreements.
With an eye on the future, Heaton said the department could potentially have a new crime-fighting tool in place sometime during 2011.
"We're still working on the kinks, but at some point we are working on having a dedicated tip line here at the department," Heaton said. "So many people are apprehensive about providing information about a crime, a fear of getting involved, which is understandable. Having this tip line will allow people a way to report information anonymously."
Types of arrests
The Clay County Sheriff's Department provided information to The Brazil Times regarding the top 10 charges suspects was arrested for in 2010, including:
1. Operating Vehicle While Intoxicated -- 185
2. Probation Violation --166
3. Possession of Marijuana -- 88
4. Resisting Law Enforcement -- 86
5. Theft -- 72
6. Battery -- 68
7. Maintaining Common Nuisance -- 64
8. Failure To Appear -- 63
9. Public Intoxication -- 62
10. Possession Methamphetamine -- 43
Other notable charges involving a high number of arrests included:
* Possession Paraphernalia -- 42,
* Possession Controlled Substance -- 42,
* Trespass -- 29,
* Battery/Domestic -- 28, and
* Dealing Methamphetamine -- 28.