In an one-on-one interview with Pushmataha County Sheriff Terry Duncan, issues that were brought to the public’s awareness in last week’s edition were discussed. Some of the topics covered include: the budget, drug dogs, expenditures and inquires about removal of a county official.
“I’m not denying we are in a budget crunch,” stated Sheriff Duncan. “But so is the rest of the county. We [the department] operate under a different set of rules and regulations than other county officials. We can’t put off things, like filling a pot hole, until next week like they can. We also have three shifts and operate 24/7. If we get a call we have to go, whether we think it is going to amount to anything or not, because if we don’t we are being negligent and putting residents in potential danger. ”
New figures have also been presented to this office involving food service bills and fuel usage. According to the Appropriation Ledger for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 for Sheriff/Sales Tax M&O obtained on February 2, 2014 at 1:43 p.m. from the office of the Pushmataha County Clerk Jane Dunlap regarding the fuel and food spending for November 2013 of Sheriff Terry Duncan the numbers look as follows: The total food costs for the Sheriff’s department during the month of November 2013 was $3,249.67 and the total fuel cost in November 2013 was $2,740.10.
According to a letter that was mailed to all county officials in Pushmataha County from District Attorney Mark Matloff, it wasn’t necessarily citizens that were inquiring about how to remove an elected official, or the sheriff, from office. Whom actually inquired, or who was inquired about, remains unknown.
“Scare tactics like that will not work,” stated Duncan. “I have 13 volunteer reserve deputies who are fully certified and are willing to step up and go to work to help protect this county. The people of Pushmataha County will not go unprotected.”
“Instead of fussing back and forth at each other, we need to sit down and figure out how to bring money back into the county,” continued Duncan. “People are not spending as much of their money locally as they have previously, which results in less money for the county to operate on. We need everyone's focus on spending money in our county any chance they get. Our office is trying to save money and is making budget cuts anywhere we can. I have laid off a total of 10 positions, both full time and part time, including deputies, secretaries and jail staff to save our county money and we will continue to save where we can.”
According to ACCO Lawyers and the State Audit Department the Sheriff’s department deputies are allowed to transport children to and from school, as long as that deputy which is transporting them is in full uniform when doing so. It is considered to be pro-active for law enforcement officials to be seen in and around schools.
“I was elected to this position by the people of Pushmataha County and will always do the best job I can for them. Sometimes doing your job you make enemies, and I apologize for that, but I will not apologize for doing the job I was elected to do,” said Duncan.
Sheriff Duncan has extended a full invitation for anyone who has concerns or questions to stop by his office to speak to him at anytime.