Money Problems in Knox County
Knox County is listed as one of the worst three counties for filing domestic violence assaults and general assault records.
The courts are also slow to issue civil protection orders for domestic violence victims. Expenses add up because there's no jail in Knox County, so officials have to pay other counties to put people behind bars.
Knox spent more than $11,000 in jail fees in 2004, $13,000 in 2005 and it estimates $10,000 for this year. But, Knox had a 2005 budget of only $250,000 compared with neighboring Adair County's $1.2 million.
"We're a poor-class county," admitted Kite, who has to prioritize cases. So, methamphetamine is often the big issue. But, one victims' advocate said that's taking the easy way out.
"I think it is sometimes easier to focus on those kinds of things and we have swift end results," said Kim Lebaron of Victims Support Services. "With drug cases, you know the person's caught, they're put into jail, they go to trial. You know, we know what to do about that. But domestic violence or sexual violence, either one, those have the human component that they don't fix easy."
Kite said being short-staffed limits him, but he insisted the sheriff's department treats domestic violence as seriously as other crimes. As for the state reports, Kite said, "We're doing better on that since I talked to you. Okay?"
Since KOMU contacted Sheriff Kite, he filed reports on three domestic violence cases. That's more filings in one month than he did in the past three years.