Given that the JSO budget issue is still with us, I modified slightly my former post on the subject, and offer it below.
The safety of individuals is an emotional component, and so it is given a high priority in the determination of police department budgets. Therefore, anyone attempting to cut a sheriffís budget, even though cuts might make good sense, is portrayed as being careless or negligent, with the result that during good economies the sheriff's department can balloon to a size obscenely large for the community it serves, with the consequence that tax dollars which should go to libraries, schools, teachers, youth programs, job training, job creation, and other programs designed to reduce the fundamental causes of crime in the first place, are wasted on a bloated agency. Because of a lack of strong and sensible leadership, and because of a momentum of inefficiency, a habit set in the JSO long before the current sheriff, the JSO thrives on the very conditions caused by its own inefficiency, which is its habit of taking funds needed for programs and entities as stated above, which, if implemented, would otherwise reduce the need for policing.
A glance at the dynamics involved in all governmental agencies should illuminate the crux of the problem with the JSO budget. The JSO is a governmental agency which does not have the benefit of the pressure of a competitive marketplace to enforce and promote efficiency and excellence of service. When a private firm has poor leadership, performs inefficiently, and does not effectively address the needs of its customers, it fails. When a governmental agency such as the JSO has poor leadership, performs inefficiently, and does not effectively address the needs of the community, it not only survives, it asks for more money so that it can hire more police to bloat the agency, and perpetuate its mediocrity.
With increased training and improved operational policies, the JSO could reduce its force by 30% and achieve the objectives set before it. And if the funds saved by this reduction were targeted to programs and assistance to needy individuals who otherwise would end up jobless and in the jail cycle, the force could eventually be further reduced because of the decreasing crime rate. Our policies of ignoring the root causes of crime, and the JSOís habit of growing its empire is a vicious circle which will only worsen if we do not curb the funding of the JSO and route funds to programs as stated above. Reducing the funding to the JSO will tend to force efficiency within it.
Whereas a private company achieves objectives with efficiency and excellence, the governmental agency achieves objectives with a massive work force and a massive budget, the swollen budget being the root cause of too little funds being available for schools, teachers, libraries, training and job programs for youths Ė precisely the things needed to make the JSO less necessary in the first place. We are creating a population of youths who will be engaged by the jail system simply because they have been left out of the loop of getting attention by way of effective programs and services as a result of excessive tax funds funneled to the JSO.
Whereas the crucial motive force for excellence and efficiency in the private company is the competitive market place, the key motive force for excellence and efficiency in a governmental agency such as the JSO is effective leadership and a low to moderate budget. Perceptions of a bloated agency, of inefficiency, of a lack of excellence in performance, of waste, along with a sense of mediocre leadership, not only cultivates poor morale amongst the officers, but it allows for poor performance, and even occasions of indifference and arrogance toward the populace they are set to serve. A tightly run ship, running lean, increases morale and performance. How often does one see indifference and arrogance in a successful private concern? Zilch. How often does one see indifference and arrogance from individuals within the JSO? Frequently. This behavior is a consequence of poor leadership from the top, and a consequence of poor morale and a lack of focus as to ultimate purpose. Morale and performance waivers as employees observe moods of waste and indifference, and when they sense a lack of strong and effective leadership at the top.
In my business experience, both as an employee and a business owner, Iíve become aware that without good leadership, many work force environments are set with a condition wherein 60% of the work is done by 30% of the people. And Iíve come to the conclusion that, by changing attitude alone, and given focus, an employee can produce twice the work as might earlier have been the case.
We need as much funding as possible to support quality education, to reward dedicated teachers, for programs to help the young wayward and needy find their path to independence and productivity in our society. Our senseless system wherein we ignore the youth and other needy only insures that they remain in need, that many engage crime, and that the jails remain full. Our history of focusing only on funding an inefficient JSO at the expense of funding programs to ultimately decrease the need for the JSO, is a consequence of poor vision, of complacency, of being too comfortable in our shells. Continued blindness to the dynamics involved in the scenarios above will only prolong the expense to all of us, and to the suffering of those in the jails, on the street, in the ranks of the unemployed, and in the shelters.
Those who argue against paying reasonable taxes to pay for schools, teachers, educational programs, youth assistance, reasonable and sensible assistance for the needy, job training and creation, should realize that they are reaping the consequences of too-low taxes, by way of increased crime, followed by an increased JSO budget, and not enough funds for positive societal investments. The habit of playing politics with taxes, when there are fundamental necessities urgent for the achievement of societal objectives and quality of life for the majority, is a shameful and irresponsible behavior, selfish in the extreme, and should be avoided by any politician who desires to be remembered as a true leader, and a benefit to his or her community.
Show me a young man reared in our community who is in jail, and Iíll show you a young man who was deprived of a good childhood, deprived of a mentor, deprived of guidance and supervision, deprived of youth programs which take over where parents fail. Criminals are not born, they are created by the society within which they live. The youth do have choices. But the choices are limited too often to those of crime by the local environment. If there are no jobs in our local environment, and no reasonable assistance for those without jobs, crime is too often the choice made by those who are not prepared for other options.
Show me a young black youth who has little education and no skills and Iíll show you a young black man who will most likely be in jail within two years. Why? We, as a community, have failed our young people, especially the black youth. Look at the prison and jail population. Look at the cost of incarceration to our community. And some, the comfortable and the complacent, those who play with politics at the expense of our population, wish to additionally fund the JSO instead of funding entities and programs which, if implemented, would preclude the need to further bloat this agency.
There are those who continue wasting tax money fighting the destructive consequences (crime and full jails) of actions or inactions, when they could eliminate the consequences if they would make decisions to eliminate the causes of them.