Guest column: Crawford County Criminal Justice Levy a necessity


Crawford County residents, I am reaching out to you and asking for your vote for the renewal of the Criminal Justice Levy. This levy is a 2.75 mills and funds a large portion of the enforcement budget. The Sheriff’s Office operates on two budgets. I have a jail budget that is partially supported by a .5 percent sales tax and an enforcement budget, which is partially funded by the Criminal Justice Levy. Those funds cannot transfer over to the other.

In 2009, with the economic decline, Crawford County budgets were drastically cut. The Enforcement budget in 2009 was $2,400,505.00. In 2010, the enforcement budget was cut to $1,923,206.00. The Criminal Justice Levy was passed and because of the levy, we did not have to cut services to the county residents.

In 2018 the Criminal Justice Levy generated $1,484,454.00. My entire enforcement budget for 2018 was $ 2,231,498.00. Can you imagine what effect this would have on law enforcement in Crawford County if this levy was not in place? I would be trying to run the enforcement side on general fund transfers of roughly $747,000.00.

We continue to fight the drug epidemic not only Crawford County, but throughout the entire state. We have to stay proactive in this war on drugs. Without proactive law enforcement, drug dealers will move into an area where they are less likely to get caught, increasing the availability of drugs in our county. The Sheriff’s Office and local police departments have been working side by side, investigating drug related crimes in our county. What does this mean for Crawford County? Drug dealers are going to prison. Drug users are given an opportunity to change through court programs (ISAT), rehabilitation programs and the community is less likely to be victimized. Between 2014 and 2018 we have seen our drug related crimes drop by 61%.

Your money is not being wasted, and we watch how we spend your money very closely. Here are just a few services where the Criminal Justice Levy is used:

  • 55,086 calls came into the dispatch center in 2018
  • We dispatch emergencies for 10 Township Fire Departments, Bucyrus City Fire Department, Portsmouth Ambulance, New Washington Police Department, Enforcement and Jail at the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Agency and the Dog Warden
  • Emergency Medical Dispatching
  • We recently added 3 more radios that dispatch will be monitoring
  • All wireless 911 calls and rural 911 calls
  • Report weather conditions to the schools and call snow levels
  • Enter Amber alerts for a 7 county region
  • We hold all arrest warrants issued by the courts.
  • Civil process – subpoenas, evictions, protection and court orders. Sheriff’s sales
  • 682 CCW permits issued in 2018 with renewals every 5 years.

Road Patrols

  • Most visible side of the Sheriff’s Office. Patrol 402 square miles, over 900 miles of roadways
  • Respond to calls for service, investigating crimes, investigate 492 crashes last year
  • Currently 2 deputies per shift are assigned to enforcement.
  • DARE. in 8 schools / School security officers in 1 school
  • Courthouse Security – security at election polls
  • Project Lifesaver
  • Cell Phone Investigations
  • K-9 Unit (2 bloodhounds & 1 patrol / drug dog)
  • Detectives involved in METRICH (10-county drug task force)
  • NARCAN / AED’s / First Aid Kits- deputies sometimes arrive on scene before medical personnel
  • Special Response Team (SRT) multi agency team – resource to all of Crawford County.
  • Directed or assisted in 31 search warrants. 87 people were charged with felony crimes. Those crimes included drug offenses, burglaries, thefts, and sexually motivated crimes.
  • Home visits on sex offenders
  • School, business, and residential checks
  • Cruisers – we still have cruisers in the fleet with over 200,000 miles on them. We try to replace 3 cruisers a year. They must be in good working condition for high speeds and to respond to calls. These vehicles get a lot of hard use.
  • Computers – we house the records management system and computer aided dispatch for 18 agencies and the 911 system for the entire county.

Five years ago, the city of Bucyrus experienced four murders. Investigating and processing one scene can be an overwhelming task. Bucyrus had four scenes to investigate at the same time. The Sheriff’s Office was called upon and we were able to provide manpower and assistance and helped investigate two of the four scenes. We have conducted large scale searches for missing kids, locating them and reuniting them with their families. These investigations cost money and we could not have done it without the levy.

If the levy renewal does not pass, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve you, however without this funding, drastic adjustments will have to be made. Cuts will have to be made and layoffs will likely occur. Calls for service will have to be prioritized and the most serious calls will be answered first while less serious calls have to wait. Layoffs could occur which creates officer safety issues.

The Criminal Justice Levy is a renewal. We are not asking for new money.

To give you an idea what the levy will cost you:

  • $50,000.00 property value= $38.00 a year
  • $100,000.00 property value= $75.00 a year
  • $150,000.00 property value= 114.00 a year

You can go to the Crawford County Auditor’s website and view what your property taxes are being used for.

I am asking for your support, and asking you to renew the Criminal Justice Levy. I am asking you to let others know how important this levy is to our county. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the Sheriff’s Office or if you would rather stop by, I would be more than happy to

show you how we operate. Thank you for your consideration on this important matter and remember, the Sheriff’s Office is here to serve you.

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Scott Kent is the Crawford County, Ohio Sheriff

Scott Kent is the Crawford County, Ohio Sheriff