By Gabriella Agate
Carter County Times
At the October 9 regular meeting of fiscal court, Sheriff Jeff May expressed a desire for more officers after being blindsided by a “busy, busy, busy, busy” September fueled by strife that’s rarely seen in Carter County; with forty-six arrests, fifty-three citations, forty-seven traffic stops, seventeen domestics, thirty-nine vehicle accidents, a number of burglaries, and numerous suspicious incidents. The list goes on. He said there were 685 other calls pertaining to animals, property disputes, etc. Anything and everything seems to call for an officer on scene, he said, and he doesn’t have enough of them.
According to the exhausted Sheriff, every call he makes to dispatch comes with two pages worth of explanations and documentation. While it may sound absurd for a community as rural as Carter County, in the last few months we’ve seen more than one person charged for inappropriate conduct with a minor, an officer was shot unprovoked in Olive Hill, and another man was shot after a scuffle in Grayson. The sheriff went on to relay even more troubling and harrowing stories and accounts of numbers and issues his department was facing.
May said, in total, you were looking at “sixteen-hundred and some odd calls last month”. He stated that “just last Friday” they were in pursuit of murder suspects up to the Lewis County line, where they were assisted by fellow officers of that county, and the suspects surrendered shortly after the crossing. They were captured, all three murder suspects transported to the Pike County Detention Center, and are being held there.
On Saturday night, he noted that a boyfriend and girlfriend had a domestic dispute, which ended when the man, “beat the mortal crap out of her”. He, “about killed her”, May said, noting that he faces up to eight felony charges.
In that same weekend, Simpson County saw a Deputy shot, leaving him in critical – but stable – condition in the hospital.
Sheriff May expressed appreciation for the Court and everything they’ve done for him so far, since he started out with only four deputies covering the county, but now has ten men he can count on. However, he stated “a county this size needs twenty-five, thirty officers”, which is a far cry from the eleven – including himself – that he now has at his disposal. He told them, over and over, “It’s getting crazy out here, guys.”
The issue, he explained, is that his men are out running themselves ragged, then expected to return to the precinct to document what they’ve done, which can take an hour in and of itself, before they can return to the road. This puts further strain on the officers on the road to be at the ready, and to adjust their routes, but with so many calls and so much paperwork swapping hands there’s no amount of leeway or a moment to breathe. That also means that they’re stretched thin between the mundane and the truly critical.
To put more cops out, however, would call for the purchase of more trucks and vans, uniforms, equipment ranging from holsters to badges, and not to mention the salaries of said extra officers.
Fiscal Court’s response to Sheriff May’s call for assistance was subdued, but they took his comments under advisement.
On an unrelated but altogether happier note; a special mention goes out to Levi Oney for competing in the
Special Olympics 2022 Bowling competition, where he took home a gold medal in singles, a gold medal in doubles, and bronze in the team event. He will be honored with a sign on U.S. 60 in Carter County, though where the sign will be placed is still a matter of discussion with the family.