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County To Reconsider Vote For Use Of Deductible Fund


On Monday, the Pottawatomie County Board of Commissioners agreed to reconsider a decision made at last week's meeting regarding granting the Sheriff's Office access to the county deductible fund.

During last week's meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to deny the Sheriff's Office access to the fund. At the time, the commissioners said that the deputy involved in the most recent crash had previously wrecked another

During the July 20 meeting, Sheriff Mike Booth and Undersheriff Travis Palmer spoke to the commissioners during the time allotted for public comment. The undersheriff refuted the dollar figure of incurred losses reported by The Countywide & Sun last week, and offered the commissioners his own calculations.

Commissioners Eddie Stackhouse and Randy Thomas listened to the sheriff's presentation, and agreed to reconsider the matter during next week's meeting when Commissioner Melissa Dennis should be present. Dennis was absent from Monday's meeting.

According to the numbers provided by the Sheriff's Office, the actual three-year losses incurred from automobile accidents is $107,114.19. The previously reported number of $192,689.74 was in fact incurred over a five-year period, not three.

In addition to the spreadsheet provided to the commissioners, the document included some hand-written figures that claim the actual incurred losses for the Sheriff's Office are only $72,113.15 over the last three years. Undersheriff Palmer explained that this lower figure takes into account a couple of vouchers used by the office in 2019, and the fact that the county had not approved the Sheriff's Office to use the deductible fund for their latest accident.

However, a county official confirmed that neither the use of vouchers, nor denial of access to the deductible fund would actually affect the department's incurred losses.

The sheriff told the commissioners that the deputy who crashed the vehicle was en route to a pursuit involving an armed, dangerous suspect.

"Just so I can give you a little bit of background, it wasn't just reckless misconduct of the deputies driving in the vehicles when they were crashed," Booth said.

Booth said the suspect involved in the pursuit that led to the last crash had been armed every time the Sheriff's Office had encountered him, including on this occasion.

"We do need to figure out what to do, but you tell me. You tell me what do we do in those situations," Booth said.

The sheriff said he had been reviewing other agenc`ies' policies on pursuits. He said some agencies had a policy not to engage suspects in vehicular pursuits, and just pick the suspect up another day.

"Do we back off of these guys? What's the price of your safety, or your family's safety?" Booth asked the commissioners.

He said criminals on the run could be just as dangerous to a community, if not more so, than a vehicular pursuit.

"We've got bad guys, and we're aggressive out there trying to get them, and we do everything we can to try to keep our guys safe and the public safe," Booth said.

Commissioners Thomas and Stackhouse agreed to reconsider the matter at their next meeting.

"We'll just put it on for next Monday, and you guys can be here, and we'll go back over it," Commissioner Thomas said.

In addition to agreeing to reconsider the sheriff's request for access to the deductible fund, the commissioners approved two expenditures for local public schools.

Macomb Public Schools was approved to purchase $12,911 of classroom furniture from Virco, according to the quote provided to the commissioners. The school will use the funds to switch from desks, to tables and chairs.

McLoud Public Schools similarly received authorization to pay their monthly bills to OG&E, ONG, and McLoud Water Department using a portion of their sales tax funds. The vote to allow this expenditure was unanimous.

Before adjourning, the commissioners approved OMMA certificates of compliance for two cannabis operations in District 2. Both Kengs Bud Farm and The Resilient Group, LLC. were unanimously approved as compliant by the commissioners.


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