Johnston County Sheriff’s Department frustrated with effects of State Questions 780 & 781

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JOHNSTON CO., Okla. - The Johnston County Sheriff's Department took to social media Wednesday sharing photos and airing their frustrations.

They said they arrested a man around 2:30 a.m. for drugs and guns, but this repeat offender was back on the streets by 2:00pm.

The reason they say their jails have revolving doors is the passage of State Questions 780 and 781.

"Officers shouldn't have to deal with it over and over again because if it's just a misdemeanor, people will keep doing it," said Jenna Edwards, a concerned resident.

Edwards is talking about repeat offenders being let go hours after they're arrested for crimes now classified as a misdemeanor.

"If you have a large amount of meth that is dangerous to a lot of people, not only the people that are using it but others around it," said Clint Spencer. "I think it should be a felony."

Sheriff Jon Smith says he's just as frustrated as the residents he's working to protect.

"It's taken the burden off of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, of course due to decreased inmate population, but it's placed the burden on local communities," said Smith. "That's a big complaint that we get that people are just tired of it."

Supporters for State Questions 780 and 781 say treating drug addiction is more effective than incarcerating.

Another argument is that it saves the state millions since half of all people locked up in Oklahoma are non-violent offenders.

Captain Gary Dodd says metropolitan areas in our state voted for this to pass, but rural Oklahoma did not, and they're the ones who are being hit the hardest.

"We don't have the resources that metropolitan areas have," said Dodd. "We are not seeing the redistribution of funds that 781 promised us to help these people get help because we want people to get help."

They just hope voters educate themselves a little more next time before going to the polls.

"They need to read this stuff and not just take people's word for it," said Dodd. "Don`t even take our word for it, read it for yourself and make a decision."

Sheriff Smith says they are all for people getting clean, and that they've seen an increase of people going to the drug courts, but there's also been many officers injured when checking out drug related calls.

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