MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Sheriff David Barber met with the Knox County Commissioners on Monday, accompanied by Detective Capt. Richard Brenneman.
Barber presented a copy of his annual report for the year 2008, and gave the commissioners some highlights of the report.
Barber said the year 2008 was unusual in the high number of murders — three —that were committed in the county; some years the county sees no murders at all. Two came from a double murder/suicide case in Gambier, the other from a husband who shot his wife.
On the positive side, Barber pointed at major drug busts which have shut down five marijuana growing operations in the county, taking an estimated $1.5 million worth of the illegal drug off of the streets.
Barber said the Knox County Jail housed 1,694 inmates in 2008, up slightly from 2007. Of those inmates, 1,333 were male and 361 were female. Sheriff’s Office personnel processed 2,957 court papers and conducted 474 sheriff’s sales of foreclosed properties.
“That’s the highest it’s been since I’ve been sheriff,” Barber said. “When I took office in 1993, we were lucky to have 30 [foreclosures] a year.”
Barber said the county’s DARE program had positively impacted 1,900 students across the county in 2008.
He said the county’s policy of defaulting to the Ohio State Highway Patrol on traffic calls continued last year and will continue into the future, because it allows more county cars to be kept available for criminal complaints. It also, he said, helps justify keeping the highway patrol post in Mount Gilead well staffed.
The report also included the statistic that 60 to 75 registered sex offenders live in Knox County, most of whom are not under court supervision.
Barber said one of the future goals for the KCSO is to obtain live-scan fingerprinting, a computer system for scanning fingerprints directly from the hand and immediately downloading them into investigation databases.
Barber also discussed a bill from Courtesy Ambulance which had been sent to the commissioners. Barber said the bill was for the transportation of a decedent to the morgue at Knox Community Hospital to allow time for out-of-town relatives of the subject to be notified, so that they could decide burial arrangements.
According to the commissioners, the bill detailed the run as being for the purposes of an autopsy. Barber said that although at the time of the incident his office was notifying Knox County Coroner Dr. Jennifer Ogle of non-suspicious deaths just as a point of information, no autopsy was performed on the subject of this transport. Barber said he felt the billing should have gone to the family, not to the commissioners, who paid the bill.
“In the future, if something like this comes your way, give me a call before you pay the bill,” Barber said.