What Is Real Security Worth?



Certified deputies and police officers are working tirelessly day and night, hand in hand, with certified detention officers, to arrest and detain thousands of individuals every year in our communities accused of violent and nonviolent crimes.

Those who cannot afford to bond out must be securely and safely held within the confines of the jails, as their case is processed through the courts. Until that takes place, I know we would all prefer that our local sheriff maintain custody within secure jail facilities.

However, due to extreme jail overcrowding, our sheriff has had no alternative but to consider options that secure early releases for some inmates, while relocating others into halfway houses, and must even consider re-establishing the home arrest program.

All of these options, as unsatisfactory as they may be, are being considered and/or implemented because of inadequate facilities.

For all these reasons and more, nearly ALL Gila County citizens agree, the need is there.

A group of individuals in Payson are protesting the funding source and the location of the new facilities. With the need already being established, it is obvious to me that the new, bigger and better law enforcement facilities are imminent for northern Gila County.

Unless I'm missing something here, it should be just a matter of selecting the cheapest way to pay for it! I don't know about you, but I'd much rather pay a half-cent more of excise tax on certain items only, than force county officials to add to my real property tax.

The objection to the location is also very confusing. County officials agree that the Main Street location is not set in stone, and will look at all options and indeed, are doing just that as this is being written.

It really does not matter where the new facilities will be constructed, so long as they remain affordable and convenient to the citizens. Remember, it is not the location we will be voting on in November, it's the revenue stream that will be decided by ballot.

Also, the opposing ads telling everyone "we get to have a jail on Main Street, however, is for me, unbelievably confusing! I don't think they are even aware that there's been an operating jail on Main Street for the last 72 years.

I have spoken to many groups and countless citizens from Globe who almost unanimously agree that the half-cent sales tax is needed, knowing full well that the lion's share of the $30+ million capital improvement will go to build bigger and better justice facilities for the citizens of Payson. Yet this group, who is spending thousands of dollars protesting what this community needs and deserves, are from Payson.

Those of us who have poured blood, sweat and tears into our local community and properties need to be heard from in November. Are we going to have a few newcomers, who quite possibly see themselves as big fish in a little pond, try to confuse us into thinking that we really don't want something that we absolutely need and deserve?

No one likes to consider paying even a half-cent more in taxes for community improvements.

We all grumble about paying more for better libraries, better hospitals, better schools, etc., but in the end, all of us want better services, and usually find a way to support them. For me and my family, I can tell you we are not moving. We've been residents of Gila County for about 25 years, and I am proud to say you can count on us to get involved in community and county projects that will enhance all citizens' services and welfare.

Jim Eskew

Gila County Jail Commander in Payson

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