I am going into my seventeenth year living in my small town in southwestern Indiana. It is a town of about 2,000 people and a county of 20,000. It is in the bottom 20% of the State in that regard. I certainly enjoy small town life. I have been here long enough that most people at least know that I am the old”deaf” guy. We aren’t quite “Mayberry” as portrayed to the right but we are probably about as white and as few in number. 🙂
Our small daily newspaper, yeah we still have one, doesn’t have much of a staff so they for the most part just print what is given to them. It seems the majority of our daily newspaper is about high school sports and who recently died. Investigative reporting is non-existent. There are occasional letters to the editor that discusses our local government but for the most part no one in government and especially law enforcement are seriously questioned. That is an underlying theme for this post.
In the sixteen years I have lived here crime it seems has been pretty static, at least from what I can glean from the newspaper and talking to other townspeople. There was recently a murder of a small child that made State wide news but murder and robbery is thankfully a very rare occurrences in my small town. A couple of times a year I see where the sheriff raids another meth lab but for the most part my small town seems almost immune from the big city problems of Indianapolis which brings me to the main topic of this post.
The budgets related to criminal activities in our county has taken a sharp increase in the last few years and I just can’t fathom why. For years we got by with one judge handling the legal matters for our county. Most, if not all, the county employees were housed in the 100 year old county courthouse. And then things suddenly changed. About four years ago when our long-time circuit judge retired it was decided that one judge could not handle the volume anymore. We needed two judges now.
We also needed a greatly expanded support team including more deputies for the three enforcement agencies in our small county. So many more employees where added that they had to seek additional space beyond the court house. Of course along with all this demanded remodeling much of the court house space to accommodate the expanded bureaucracy. More tax dollars…
Tax dollars dedicated to criminal activities have taken a giant leap here but I just don’t see the cause of it? And now a plan is underway to close down three of the four courthouse entrance doors and to put some more newly hired guards with metal detectors and weapons at the final one. Of course that means more expense.
Is all of this being caused by real threats or just increased fear? Since my county is very red when it comes to its politics I kind of think the later. Fear is very dominant on that side of the aisle. But I won’t be voicing much opposition to these changes as I don’t want to be deemed the “troublemaker” in my small town. That can almost be the kiss of social death in a small town….