Sheriff’s corner: Where the budget money goes
Over the past few weeks, I have shared insight on the many different aspects of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and the work that is being done by our deputies every day. This work continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which brings me to this article which will cover the resources required to maintain the effective and consistent service which we strive to provide to our communities.
The total budget for the Sheriff’s Department as adopted for 2017 is $3,557,059. Of this amount, $3,068,436 are costs associated with salaries, insurance, Social Security and overtime. This leaves about $488,623 for all other costs associated with the operations of the department. When you consider costs such as fuel and maintenance for patrol, transports and training along with maintenance contracts for the various systems which we rely on for our operations, it is easy to see that we do operate on a conservative budget. This number also includes our housing of inmates, medical services to inmates and our entire capital outlay for new squad cars and equipment.
The fact that a majority of our budget is in our staff reinforces the fact that the majority of our value and effectiveness rests with our employees and the work they do. No high-cost piece of equipment or state-of-the-art facility can have the positive impact of a highly motivated and trained staff, and to the contrast, no high-cost piece of equipment or state-of-the-art facility can undo the damage of a poorly trained or unmotivated staff. What we lack in material resources, we more than make up for in the quality of our human resources.
Some of the measures we have taken to limit our costs on the patrol side involve the extension of squad car service from four years to five, as well as limiting the mileage driven for a given squad during a shift of patrol. On the jail side, we make use of electronic monitoring when appropriate as an option to out-of-county incarceration, and have streamlined inmate menu decisions to the absolute minimums. Regarding the transportation of inmates for hearings, we make every effort to use video conferencing as an option to physically transporting the individual, thus saving on both staff time and fuel.
Another cost savings we have worked toward which affects every division of the Sheriff’s Department is the transition to in-house training versus sending staff out to various areas of our state. That saves us on not only the cost of the training but the overtime and traveling costs associated with those trips. This again is only made possible by the willingness of our staff to take on additional training roles within our department.
While we take great pride in all of the opportunities we have embraced to recognize cost savings to our community, we must always remain cautious that there is a breaking point at which we open ourselves to failure when the appropriate amount of resources are not provided to a given operation. We have and will continue to work with the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors to balance the needs of our employees to effectively carry out their duties and our overall mission to provide the best service we can to our community with the resources available.
If you would like to view our budget, please visit the Kewaunee County website at www.kewauneeco.org.
Matt Joski is sheriff of Kewaunee County.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Sheriff's corner: Where the budget money goes