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Sheriff's squad cars repossessed by bank


Tuesday, September 22, 2009 3:40 pm

ALEXANDER COUNTY -- A Cairo bank has repossessed the Alexander County Sheriff's Department's fleet of squad cars.

According to a news release issued Tuesday from Sheriff David Barkett, five patrol cars were repossessed by First National Bank in Cairo after defaulting because of non-payment.

Alexander County Board Chairman Mike Caldwell received the letter from the bank on Friday and after a conversation with the bank, the five vehicles were turned over on Tuesday.

The department was recently forced to lay off 11 employees, 75 percent of their workforce, because of budget restraints within the county. Their duties became limited to security in the courthouse and inmate transportation.

Barkett was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon.


When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Time to get some bikes LOL!!! Can you hear it......"Pull over"....cha-ching,cha ching..........

Guess they don't get enough traffic violations to support the cars? Bummer.

Alexander Co. used to patrol East Cape pretty hard...catch all the Illinois people crossing the river on their way home from Cape, and catch all the Cape people on their way to/from the titty bars. For as often as I saw 'em there and as many tickets they wrote, this just seemed odd. Ain't seen 'em out there in a while though...and now I know why :lol:

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Port St Lucie, FL just sent up several PD cars to replace those that were "lost"

yeah, that just hit the papers yesterday. Now they have more squad cars than sheriff deputies since they had to let 3/4 of them go due to budget constraints. The county is over it's head in debt...wouldn't be surprised if they turn around and sell a car or two just to pay off some bills.

Alexander County's budget problems get 'worse and worse'

Monday, September 28, 2009

By Bridget DiCosmo ~ Southeast Missourian

CAIRO, Ill. -- Financial woes that recently caused the sheriff's department in Alexander County to lose three-fourths of its personnel to layoffs have also created an outstanding debt the county owes to a Missouri hospital, according to Alexander County Coroner Willie Bingham.

Bingham said the Alexander County Coroner's office currently owes about $10,000 in autopsy fees to the Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington, Mo.

The debt further compounds budget problems for Alexander County, where 27 percent of the residents live below the poverty line and Sheriff David Barkett has been forced to rely on just four deputies to cover the more than 250-square-mile county.

Last week, Barkett lost five of six county-owned patrol cars to First National Bank of Cairo because the county had defaulted on their payments for the vehicles.

"It's just getting worse and worse," Bingham said of the county's budget problems.

As county coroner, Bingham is forced to send a body out for an autopsy each time he can't pinpoint the exact reason for a death. Mineral Area is the facility that generally conducts autopsies for local counties, including Cape Girardeau, and fees usually run about $1,750, Bingham said.

He said he fears there will come a point where he'll be unable to have an autopsy performed unless the debt is paid off.

"That's basically where I've got the bag over my head," Bingham said.

The county's general fund currently has about $30,000, and county board member Angela Greenwell said things have been in a "downward spiral" for decades.

The clerk's office has a new computer to store all of the county's registered voters and ballot results, but it sits unusable because the county has run up a $35,000 tab with the provider of the system and software, according to County Clerk Nancy Kline.

An amount of $50,000 was recently transferred by a judge to the county's general fund from the court system, giving them enough money to pay what was owed to four of the deputies recently laid off, Greenwell said.

Alexander County also owes about $86,000 to Tri-County Jail in Ullin, Ill., for costs associated with housing prisoners, Greenwell said.

With such limited staffing, Barkett has been taking emergency measures to keep the county safe, including an appeal last week to state and federal officials in Springfield, Ill., for donated vehicles.

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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