There was a time not so long ago when Peggy Dodd considered turning the alarm system off at her home. Those days have now passed for the Ralls County resident.
“Now I’m keeping a loaded gun in my house and I have additional alarms set up,” she said.
In the early hours of Nov. 17 Dodd was awakened by the sound of an alarm going off in an outbuilding. While disturbed by the attempted theft, it’s what happened afterward that most annoyed Dodd.
According to Dodd, it took over 30 minutes for a deputy to reach her residence, which is located between Hannibal and New London. When the sheriff’s deputy arrived, the individual did not have a coat or flashlight.
Dodd says she was promised someone would be back to investigate the next morning, but no one from the sheriff’s department ever returned. Eventually Dodd called the highway patrol.
While time has passed since the incident, Dodd’s irritation has not lessened.
“I am very concerned and very, very frustrated because the sheriff is getting paid and is not doing anything,” she said.
A message left for Sheriff Paul Forney was not returned Friday afternoon. Attempts to contact Forney at the sheriff’s office earlier in the week were unsuccessful as well.
Dodd’s complaint is one of several that the county’s commissioners have been receiving regarding the sheriff’s department, according to Bob See, presiding commissioner.
“I was receiving complaints prior to the (November) election on his management of the sheriff’s department and timely submission of paperwork that needed to come into the clerk’s office for payment and bill paying, and things of that nature,” he said.
During Forney’s unsuccessful run for re-election, other concerns were passed along to the county commission.
“I got calls that when he was campaigning, he was doing it in the county car and in uniform, which is a no-no,” said See.
Since the election, most of the complaints have been in regard to response times to calls.
The situation has been a topic of discussion among the three commissioners. See reports the commission is exploring what options, if any, it has prior to January when Gerry Dinwiddie takes over as sheriff.
In the meantime, Ralls County residents are left to wait and worry.
“If the sheriff isn’t doing his duty what are the people supposed to do?” asked Dodd. “My neighbors are scared to death. They’re afraid to go anywhere.”