If approved, millage would provide money for STING deputy, school officer
Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:37pm caleb
Crawford County Sheriff’s Department asking for five years of funding for the two positions with November 3 ballot proposal
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department is asking voters to approve a millage to pay for “the costs of maintaining and equipping a deputy assigned as the School Resource Officer in the Crawford AuSable School System and maintaining and equipping a deputy assigned to the Strike Team Investigative Narcotics Group,” according to the ballot language, and the proposal will be decided during the November 3 general election.
The request – “Crawford County – Sheriff Millage Proposal” – asks voters to approve “0.4500 ($0.4500 per $1,000 of taxable value” on “the total amount of general ad valorem taxes imposed on real and tangible personal property” in the county for the local S.T.I.N.G. deputy and the school officer.
“The amount of revenue the County will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the County in the first year is estimated to be $261,869. The proposed millage is a new millage,” according to the ballot language.
The millage is for “a period of five years, 2020 through 2024 inclusive,” according to the proposal.
Crawford County Sheriff Shawn M. Kraycs said the two positions are “both currently working” but he would like to solidify funding for them due to budget issues affecting the county and the school system.
Sheriff Kraycs said the county is “combining the two in a millage to pay for both of them to alleviate budget issues from the school and for us.”
“The two positions are additional positions to the regular patrol officers; thus, they are the first to be considered for elimination when budget shortages surface,” Sheriff Kraycs said.
Sheriff Kraycs said the S.T.I.N.G. officer is an important part of the difficult battle against drug overdoses in the community.
“The S.T.I.N.G. officer is a full-time police officer that works directly with a team of police officers from other communities. These officers work together to combat drug trafficking and abuse. They work on drug cases full-time, giving them the unique opportunity to investigate issues that most times stop at the arrest of the user. Officers are equipped with special equipment and investigative tools that are not available to the ordinary patrol officer. Regular patrol officers that make drug possession arrests are usually the result of a traffic stop. That is typically where the investigation ends. S.T.I.N.G. can take those cases and work them further and attempt to eliminate the source of the drugs,” Sheriff Kraycs said.
“Treatment and education are just part of the fight to reduce death and (drug) use. Enforcement is a crucial component to the overall success of the other two elements. Together, all provide the balance to have an effective program to combat drug abuse and death. In just 12 months, we have seen the arrests in Crawford County quadruple because of the S.T.I.N.G. officer,” Sheriff Kraycs said.
Sheriff Kraycs said overdose deaths due to fentanyl – “a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse – is a serious issue for the county.
“Drugs in our community are much more dangerous with the addition of fentanyl. This drug induced into street meth and heroin can be and is fatal. Several young adults from our community have already died as a result of the deadly combination,” Sheriff Kraycs said.
Kraycs served as the first School Resource Officer more than 20 years ago, and he considers it an important position.
“Our School Resource Officer position has been in our school system since 1997. I was the first (School Resource Officer) until being promoted to undersheriff in 2002. The (School Resource Officer) creates lasting relationships with staff, parents, and, most notably, the students. These relationships last for years. I will still have students contact me from when I was an (School Resource Officer), and they are parents and have been out of school for nearly 20 years,” Sheriff Kraycs said.
“(School Resource Officer) assists students with personal issues, family issues, and social issues. The position also has a strong connection and role in the discipline, truancy, and other issues that affect the learning environment. School staff and administration have come to rely on the (School Resource Officer) for many reasons,” Sheriff Kraycs said.