Sheriff James Singleton recently gave a report on the Sheriff’s Department to the Hempstead County Quorum Court. The report was quite comprehensive and detailed the duties of the Sheriff’s Department and the area they cover. He noted the county has 741 square miles of land and 14 square miles of water. Sheriff Singleton said his department is the primary law enforcement agency for most of that. He said almost 11 square miles is covered primarily by the Hope Police Department within the city. The Sheriff noted Blevins has a City Marshall.
The Sheriff’s Department has 10 patrol deputies. The Sheriff also detailed the other positions such as within the jail, transport officers, and courthouse security.
The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department has 33 vehicles. Of these, 11 are vehicles that were drug forfeiture vehicles and the county only uses them. He said the department buys “state contract” vehicles for patrol, used locally purchased vehicles for some administration, and a variety of other vehicles. These include a 40 foot RV used for a “command center” and an armoured rescue vehicle and a humvee which came from Army Surplus.
Sheriff Singleton praised the reserve deputies who are located throughout the county. Many of these keep older model Sheriff’s vehicles with them. The newest of these is a 9 year old vehicle with nearly 150,000 miles. Reserve deputies include Warren Webster, Neil Barwich, Greg Huckabee, Lonnie Friend, Mark Dale, and Maurice Henry’s. Henry did utilize a 16 year old Crown Victoria but it is out of service.
The Sheriff’s Department has a contract with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to provide patrols on the Hempstead County side of Millwood Dam and its campgrounds.
Sheriff Singleton had figures on the number of people entering the Hempstead County Courthouse in 2018. A total of 50,483 people visited the courthouse during that twelve month period. Of these, 6,392 did not speak English. Sheriff Singleton noted the security officers found 1,202 knives, 377 other objects, and checked 3,779 purses or briefcases.
Hempstead County officers entered 2,585 warrants in 2018 and served 1,554. 1,618 prisoners were processed and 1.143 civil papers were served.
The Sheriff’s Department processed 2,998 incidents in 2018. Sheriff Singleton noted there were 116 crimes against children investigated in 2018 and he finds this number unacceptable.
The department investigated 137 incidents where weapons were apparently used. 1,981 incidents were reported, 1,893 assigned to officers, and 1,688 incidents were cleared leaving 208 active. The department investigated 41 aggrevated assaults, 36 burlery/breaking and entering incidents, and 16 incidents of motor vehicle theft. Other incidents included 11 credit card identity thefts, 40 reports of vandalism, 70 incidents of simple assault, and 79 other thefts. Sheriff Singleton said there were 5 counterfeiting/forger incidents investigated, 26 incidents of intimidation, 70 incidents of trespassing, 7 liquor law violations, and 126 drug/narcotic violations. Other incidents investigated included 16 drug equipment violations, 11 weapon law violations, 10 D.W.I incidents, 134 miscellaneous incidents, and 1,045 other offenses. The Sheriff’s Department investigated 406 items of stolen property valued at $459,063.98 with 52 items recovered valued at $39,792.60.
The Sheriff’s Department had 5,371 filings in District Court. Of these, 2.797 were criminal, 48 DWI, 37 Juvenile, 6 ordinance, and 2.483 traffic.
Sheriff Singleton gave a report on the 8th North Task Force. He noted this includes Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen, Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin, Hope Police Chief J.R. Wilson, Prescott Police Chief Joseph Beavers, and Sheriff Singleton. He noted the unit’s focus is on the distribution, sale, and trasnporation of illegal narcotics in and through the 8th North Judicial District. He noted in the first 106 days of operation of the task force (starting on March 15th, 2018), agents opened 68 cases resulting in the arrest of 71 suspect and the confiscation of 868 grames of Meth. Agents also shut down a drug operations inside a local restaurant and arrested a major dealer. The Taskforce has confiscated marijuana, cocaine, liquid hydrocodone, crack, cocaine, moonshine, over $90,000 in cash, paraphernalia, and four vehicles. In all over $170,000 in drugs were confiscated according to Sheriff Singleton.
The Sheriff’s report giaves details on the Hempstead County Jail. He noted 1.606 prisoners were booked in and 1,553 released in 2018. Sheriff Singleton says the recidivism rate was 75%, a number they’re trying to work on by offering prisoners a chance to study and take their G.E.D. test and also by working to offer a welding course for prisoners through UAHT. Sheriff Singleton said the jail has served 408,456 meals in the last five years.
Sheriff Singleton detailed medical expenses of the prisoners. He noted a state law which went into effect in 2015 requires the jail not be billed for any more than Medicaid will pay for services. While the regular billing of the medical services given to prisoners in 2018 would have been $341,919.23, the jail only had to pay $22,646.88 for these services.
Sheriff Singleton’s report detailed the maintenance work orders completed on the building in 2018. Much of this work is done by “309” prisoners assigned to the jail.
Under jail incidents, the Sheriff lists 191 incidents. Of those, 6 were attacks on officers by inmates and 18 were attacks by inmates on other inmates. He also offered statistics on prisoner transports. 583 males were transported by the Sheriff’s Department, 77 females, and 22 juveniles. He noted juvenile housing and monitor costs in 2018 were $47,430. This year’s total was a fraction of the highest amount spent for these costs over seven years. The highest amount the county spent on juvenile housing and monitoring was $135,617 in 2018.
Sheriff Singleton noted the department has instituted an “inmate commisary” at the jail. In 2018 sales were 43,965,54 with profits of $25,991.66.
Sheriff Singleton’s report also detailed community programs such as D.A.R.E., National Night Out, the Sheriff’s Community Halloween Party, Fund Raisers and Operation Christmas.
Sheriff Singleton said he compiled the report to show the Quorum Court what the men and women in the department do for the citizens of Hmpestead County.