County jail bookings jump by 150 since 2012

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sheriff applies for $4,000 MoDOT grant to curb DWIs

The Barry County Jail inmate population increased by 8.39 percent over the previous two years, according to jail documents.

The jail booked 1,963 people in 2014, 1,908 people in 2013 and 1,811 people in 2012.

"The numbers do go up and down," said Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff. "The numbers go up until we have a law day, then we get a lot that are sentenced.

"Then, we send 10 to 15 out of [the jail], so that decreases it back down again. But, it isn't long before it gets right back up again. My officers make a lot of arrests."

The jail capacity is 82, but the jail sometimes reaches 90, said Jan Smith, jail administrator. The latter number was the highest headcount of inmates in a day for both 2013 and 2014, while the highest headcount in a day for 2012 was 75. The lowest headcounts in a day were 50 in 2014, 44 in 2013 and 34 in 2012.

The jail averaged 73 inmates in 2014, 65 inmates in 2013 and 54 inmates in 2012.

The highest number of inmates booked is the people who failed to appear in court. In 2014, that number was 607 instances, which increased by 11 over 2013.

"I don't know what the problem is there," Epperly said. "If you got an order to be at the court, you should be there. But, they fail to show. Then, we have to arrest them again. They either have to bond or go in front of the judge again."

Court-ordered time jumped from 116 instances in 2013 to 150 instances in 2014, probation violations increased from 110 occurrences in 2013 to 118 occurrences in 2014, and contempt of court increased from 15 incidents in 2013 to 23 incidents in 2014.

In 2014, the inmates faced charges that included second-degree murder, armed robbery, robbery, 50 burglaries, 74 thefts, seven larcenies, 44 assaults, five aggravated assaults, 33 domestic assaults, three child molestation incidents, 42 incidents of distributing or manufacturing drugs, eight incidents of failure to register as a sex offender, two sexual assaults, three statutory rapes, eight statutory sodomies, 104 possession of controlled substance incidents, and five possession of marijuana incidents. These numbers increased over 2013, except for assaults. In 2013, inmates faced 55 assault charges.

Brian Sharp, 32, of Seligman, is facing charges of second-degree murder, leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident and driving with a revoked or suspended license after a vehicle he was driving on Highway 90 on Aug. 3 crashed, resulting in the death of Kenneth Patterson, 48, of Seligman.

Jason Kramer, 24, James Kramer, 61, and Amanda Shelby, 27, all of Verona, are accused of stealing items from residents in Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties. The Barry County Sheriff's Office recovered about $40,000 in stolen property in early November at a home on Highway VV near McDowell, arresting the three suspects at gunpoint.

Epperly has recently applied for a $4,000 Missouri Department of Transportation grant to assist the Sheriff's Office in arresting people for driving while intoxicated.

The grant will allow officers to work overtime when conducting DWI saturations, he said.

According to jail documents, 2014 showed 32 incidents of driving while intoxicated, which increased by five incidents over 2013.

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