To all citizens of Howell County, Missouri:

Dear citizens,
In this letter I would like to share the findings of a Grand Jury Facility Visit which was conducted on April 29, 2021 pursuant to the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) §221.300. According to RSMo §221.300, it shall be the duty of the grand jury, at each term, or a committee, to consist of at least three members thereof, to visit the jail of their county, and examine the condition thereof, and inquire into the treatment of the prisoners, and make report thereof to the court.
 
 
The findings are as follows:
1. More public awareness of the conditions of the jail.
2. A full quarter percent tax should go to the Sheriff’s Office.
3. Better salaries to hire qualified employees.
4. Should move forward with a new justice facility and utilize the existing facility as needed.
5. Encourage a 1 cent sales tax.
6. Have civic organizations tours to get the word out about the true conditions of facility.
7. Digitize the records.
8. Allocate funding for more officers and gear.
9. If we want protection, we must be willing to pay for it.
 
 
The above findings were respectfully submitted to the court by the Grand Jury Foreperson and a copy of these findings was forwarded to me. With these findings and my personal concern to enable the strengthening of crime prevention and control capabilities; formalize essential management procedures; establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; improve
service-delivery; solidify interagency cooperation and coordination; and boost citizen and staff confidence in Sheriff Operations, I would like to further facilitate a more refined understanding in each area of emphasis to the community.
 
 
1. More public awareness of the conditions of the Jail
a. The Sheriff’s Office and the Adult Detention Center (ADC) was completed in 1980 and later expanded in 1997 in order to house 50 inmates. The detention center houses inmates who are waiting to go to trial and those who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time at the detention center. It also holds inmates for other local jurisdictions as space is available. According to the United Census Bureau, in 1980 the population for the County of Howell was estimated at 28,865 and in 1997 the population was estimated at 36,393. In 2019, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population at 40,117. In view of this census data, the County of Howell has grown in population from 1980 to 2019 with an increased percentage of 38.98%. 
b. With much concern regarding facility life cycle and clearly needed modernization; it is noted the structural layout was poorly designed and minimally accommodates correctional operations and law enforcement operations required by the Sheriff’s Office. With this design fallacy, cells had to be converted into a kitchen, additional inspections and maintenance are required due to low ceilings and ease of inmate access, nonexistent inmate medical treatment room, nonexistent interview room, nonexistent conference and/or education development room
for both employees and inmates, nonexistent equipment and supply room, extremely limited property and evidence room, continuous maintenance issues with outdated plumbing, overloaded electrical grid, overloaded antiquated computer network system and structural concerns regarding appropriate wall insulation and physical security of inmates. Furthermore, the Deputies and Civilian staff are extremely limited in space in order to conduct administrative operations and what space is available; it is limited to only a few personnel at available times. With records retention expansion, a small courtroom within the Sheriff’s Office was converted for the records custodian.
c. Lastly, I will soon publish dates for tours of the facility, where community members can observe the conditions of the facility in its entirety, not just the Adult Detention Center.
 
 
2. Full Quarter cent tax should go to the Sheriff’s Office
a. To date, the Sheriff’s Office salary compensation budget and operational budget is framed within a quarter cent tax. When the tax was passed in the late nineteen nineties, the general revenue budget was frozen. With this in mind, there was no consideration as to the rising consumer price index (inflation) and the need for competitive salary compensation that recruits and retains talent, supplies, fuel, repairs and maintenance, utilities, physical security resources, inmate sustenance and the replacement of equipment when it has expended its life cycle. Having this constraint requires a careful analysis of what would be an acceptable risk in limiting funds or no longer funding those noted area(s) of concern.
b. With the general revenue budget being frozen, one will discover with these rising costs and a service for a rising population; financial cuts and/or stagnation have to either be imposed in the manner of minimal manning
(Organization Per Capita) and/or employee salary compensation and/or limited operational procurement, which is not sustainable. Much concern I have noted upon assuming the role as your Sheriff, has been the mobile and portable communication platforms that directly link Deputies in the field to Dispatch. Furthermore, Deputies and Civilian staff historically have not been issued the appropriate uniforms and standard issued equipment, e.g. duty belts, holsters, cuffs, mace, batons and service pistols to carry out their duties as one might think, given the limited operational budget. These employees have far too long been burdened with out-of-pocket expenses for equipment and/or resources that should be recognized by leadership and provided as appropriate to carry out their duties safely and efficiently.
c. I would like to also touch on the Public Use tax, which was a tax on internet sales. It was somewhat portrayed to assist public safety, e.g. the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office serves the entirety of Howell County but receives a .25% of this use tax. In comparison to Road and Bridge, who receives a .5% (.25% North and .25% South). When I conducted an inquiry regarding this comparison, I was advised the decision was made based on the passed brick
and mortar taxes. Arguably, the Sheriff’s Office provides a service 24/7 to the entirety of Howell County, however the decision was made the Sheriff’s Office would receive the .25%, and Road and Bridge split .5% (.25% North and .25% South.) In the view of the service area, it is my belief .5% should be allocated to the Sheriff’s Office and .25% split should be allocated to Road and Bridge. As it stands General Revenue receives .5%, Road and Bridge .5%, and Law Enforcement .25%. Again, this is a holistic cost analysis on acceptable area(s) of risk for both the community and county employees.
3. Better salaries to hire qualified employees
a. The first thing I did when I worked on the incoming budget for the Sheriff’s Office was to address the inadequate salary compensation of Deputies and Civilian Staff. I presented a pay chart matrix based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center Statistics. As noted under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers showed an annual average (Mean) of $67,600 for the year of 2019 and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center showed and annual average (Mean) for the same occupation of $51,860. In consideration of the financial condition of the county and classification (County Per Capita Income), I implemented a threshold of 61% of the Missouri Annual Occupational Average in order to maintain a compensation that accounted for recruiting, retaining, assigning and sustaining the appropriate talent for the profession of serving and protecting the citizens of Howell County. With this threshold, I conveyed it provides a constant in order to project compensation increases are needed if the percent drops below the defined threshold.
The following are residual effects from an efficient pay chart matrix:
i. Enables the ability to set conditions for a forecasted budget proposal by having a Forecasted Pay Increase (FPI) which can be increased to avoid abrupt changes given current financial state of the County of Howell and inflation. An example would be, approve a pay increase of 65% of Missouri Annual Average to allow a longer life cycle of pay prior to review.
ii. Enables personnel to be more competitive for advancement through performance and professional growth that translates into the right talent in the right position which enhances the service and protection of the County of Howell.
iii. Avoids the constant friction point of starting pay exceeding those of continued service, creating issues of constant realignment of pay.
iv. Avoids starting pay consuming the ability to provide uniforms, equipment and training that addresses the appropriate knowledge, skills and ability and task organize (critical over-sight) according to the functions of public safety.
v. Enhances avoidance of safety liabilities by having the appropriate compensated over-sight, e.g. Supervisors to mitigate fraud, wasteful consumption and abuse that translates negative effects into the budget, employee pay, equipment, insurance claims, workers compensation and over-all morale.
b. In consideration of the consumer price index (inflation), I requested 70% of the Missouri Annual Occupation Average, however budgetary; I could only get 66% due to being constrained to the frozen general revenue (compensation and operational budget), which allocated starting Deputy salary at $34,228.00 which is still statistically inadequate in recruiting, retaining, assigning and sustaining the appropriate talent with the knowledge, skills and abilities.
c. Furthermore, prior to the 2021 approved pay chart, the allocated starting Deputy salary was approximately $25,500.00 and would be supplemented to $30,000.00 annually with the assistance of a Deputy Sheriff Salary Supplementation Fund (DSSSF) pursuant to RSMo §57.278. This supplemental fund, which is not guaranteed (a constant projectable compensation) only provided allocation for all Deputies at the same annual average, which did not aid in providing appropriate compensation of those positions of greater skill, effort and responsibility, e.g. Supervisors as noted under the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
d. As it currently stands, in order to provide appropriate compensation in correlation with the consumer price index, I am required to refine my cost analysis of pulling from the operational budget and assume prudent risk where I am forced to limit or no longer fund area(s) of concern. Based on the recent increase to the Missouri Annual Occupational Average and staying with the 66%, I project an increase starting Deputy salary at $37,277.00. This 66% will incrementally reflect across the pay chart from Deputy through Command Staff. A Non-Commissioned
compensation pay chart was also constructed that encompassed all Civilian Staff. I attempted to get these Civilian Staff above minimum wage, but that will have to be refined and adjusted in the next fiscal budget.
 
 
4. Should move forward with a new justice facility and utilize the existing facility as needed
a. This is currently and has been a need. Again, based on population growth alone the facility is undersized. We currently stay at max capacity or over capacity daily. As I am writing this letter I am currently over capacity. To accomplish building a new facility, it would take a Capital Improvement Tax. At some point I would like to see this move forward, but I am more concerned with operational expenditures. With transparency to the citizens of Howell County; my goal would be to pass the Capital Improvement tax of (1/2) cent to sunset at 10 years and roll back to a (3/8) or (1/4) cent for operational expenditures of the facility. The land for a future facility has already been purchased, which consists of 7.5 acres and is in proximity to the current Sheriff’s Office. I would like to see a Justice Center, which would incorporate the criminal side of the courts and would greatly assist in the physical security movements and transportation of inmates to and from court. 5. Encourage a one (1) cent sales tax a. The Sheriff’s Office is restricted in what it can ask of its citizens just like any government agency. After inquiry, I was informed by the Commission's attorney I can only ask for .5 of a cent on operations. My initial inquiry was to request .75 of a cent, which would facilitate a full cent and enable the construction of a new facility and support operational costs. My concern is to ensure adequate procurement is obtained to construct a facility but moreover, have the adequate allocations to sustain operational costs. Currently as it stands, the Sheriff’s Office receives $880,000 out of approximately $16.1 million in County Operating Budget and a .25 of a cent in Law Enforcement tax.
 
 
6. Have Civic Organizations tours to get the word out about the true conditions
a. This is currently in the works. The Grand Jury and I plan to reach out to citizens and groups to set tours of the  current facility based on participation
 
 
7. Digitize the records
a. This has been a major initiative as noted with our official website and publishing directorate. The Howell County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure transparency with the public in accordance with the Plain Writing Act of 2010 and the Revised Statute of Missouri §610.029 which states governmental agencies to provide information by electronic services, contracts for public records databases, requirements, electronic services defined — division of data
processing may be consulted. — 1. A public governmental body keeping its records in an electronic format is strongly encouraged to provide access to its public records to members of the public in an electronic format. A public governmental body is strongly encouraged to make information available in usable electronic formats to the greatest extent feasible.
 
 
8. Allocate funding for more officers and gear.
a. Generally the Sheriff’s Office had an average of two or three Deputies on per shift. Of note, Howell County is the third largest County in the State of Missouri with 927 square miles with an estimated population of 40,117. The total roadways in Howell County to include County and State maintained is approximately 1,512. By county road alone we are ranked as fifth in the state. My strategic goal is to have at least four to six Deputies on per shift. If one was to review our website, they will discover we have zoned out the county into six zones. I would like to have the ability to assign Deputies to a zone and rotate those zones appropriately to maximize area influence and response time.
b. Furthermore, another refined analysis was completed and an Organization Per Capita Report of tabulated data was derived by the Federal Bureau of Investigations table 70 and the United States Census Bureau table for the County of Howell, State of Missouri. The purpose of this report was to provide transparency of what is a national standard average of full-time employee's per capita by Region and Geographic Division by Population, Group Number and
Rate per 1,000 Inhabitants within Law Enforcement Operations. Missouri was considered the Midwestern Region for all matters of calculation. In view of this tabulated data, it was noted that the Sheriff’s Office required 76 employees.
c. To date, the Sheriff’s Office carries out Sheriff Operations with 50 employees, which is 66% in comparison to a national standard. Knowing this, Leaders must consider based off current organization standing; the safety concern of response time for both the citizen and officer backup and the need for presence patrols in correlation with geographical size of the county and crime mapping.
d. The equipment as mentioned was due to my concern and illustration of the degraded state of affairs. Historically, as previously noted, Deputies purchased out-of-pocket uniforms, boots, duty gear, weapons, appropriate rifle grade armor and carriers, and many other working tools needed to carry out their duties. The requirement of asking employees to provide their own equipment limits the Sheriff’s Office ability to standardize in uniformity. As of 2021 we were able to facilitate the cost for standardized uniforms for all Deputies and Civilian Staff. One may consider essential tools like body worn cameras, less lethal options like a tasers as standard issue and consider it to be rolled into the operational budget, unfortunately this is not the current case within the Sheriff’s Office. Given the frozen general revenue tax and its significant impact on operational procurement, the Sheriff’s Office does not have the additional funds to accommodate this expectation. The shear nature of delivering a professional expectation of
service unfortunately requires appropriate operational procurement to include appropriate sustainment.
Furthermore, training and education in the delivery of this professional expectation of service by the Sheriff’s Office
 
 
9. If we want protection, we must be willing to pay for it.
a. That was the closing statement made by the members of that Grand Jury tour
 
 
In closing, it is my obligation as a citizen and leader within Howell County to provide transparency to the best of my ability with integrity and to manage and lead the Sheriff’s Office by maximizing the efficiency of serving and protecting the community with accountability and care for the morale and welfare of its employees. I would like to say we have accomplished a lot in this first year and continue to address issues as we refine our systems approach. As I have
previously noted, I continue to look for low cost or no cost resources and funding sources such as grant opportunities. Of note, we have applied for over half-million dollars in grants for equipment, assets, personnel, and supplemental salary, which in return requires the limited Sheriff’s Office personnel to prioritize this additional responsibility in correlation with their
primary assigned public safety duties. Again, I want to thank the community for their unwavering support and I hope this letter brings to light the state of affairs we are currently negotiating and have overly communicated to collaborative leaders
of influence within Howell County, Missouri.
 
 
Sincerely,
Brent H. Campbell
Sheriff, OSN 237
County of Howell
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