Auction an innovative answer to budget cuts

On August 19th, the Wagoner County Sheriff Department put together a surplus auction of random items they had collected during their work throughout the years. This included things such as furniture, cameras, old squad cars and more.
However, among the more controversial auctioned items were around 300 guns that they had acquired throughout the years. Throughout the current year, the Sheriff’s Department has been going through the old items in order to raise money. All of the funds received by this auction will enable the sheriff’s office to buy newer equipment like squad cars.
Some may argue that the sheriff’s department should not be allowing 300+ guns to re-enter their community after being confiscated, but the purchased guns are going to a different group of people. While previously these guns could have been held by criminals, everyone who wanted to purchase a gun at this auction was required to undergo a background check by the sheriff’s department before they were able to purchase one. With this in mind, the guns will be put into the hands of legal gun owners rather than potentially dangerous individuals. Because of this, there is very little danger involved in this action.
The selling of these guns is also important because Oklahoma is in the middle of a budget crisis. Instead of merely sitting around, these guns can be used for a greater purpose.
With the profit from all of the items of the auction, the sheriff’s department will be able to buy things such as new patrol cars which will help police officers more easily patrol and help out their community.
Auctions such as these also allow the sheriff’s office to buy more things such as bullet-proof vests or lab equipment in order to do their jobs more safely and freely. With the budget shortfall, it is essential that the sheriff’s office find new potential sources of funding in order to both continue and even improve their current operations to better fit the needs of their communities.
It is also beneficial towards the state budget in that it turns old storage items into money for the sheriff and goods for the citizen. Through this auction, citizens can receive older antiques such as cameras or furniture at potentially lower prices.
Another potential benefit of the citizen is that they can receive something for their money rather than being taxed for it. It did not force new taxes in order to support the sheriff’s office.
Another benefit of this auction for the citizen was that in the process of filtering through their supplies, they found old items that were lost many years ago by citizens.
In a statement about these lost items, the Wagoner Sheriff, Chris Elliot, stated that, “We may have someone’s gun for 12 or 13 years. Proof of ownership is what we need to go on before we return the item. It’s a case by case situation, and a lot of this is simply because no one notified the victim that we recovered their property.”
Through this system, some citizens were able to have their property returned to them as long as they were not convicted felons who cannot own firearms. While the amount of items returned to their rightful owners was small, it is extremely helpful that items could be returned to their rightful place.
Auctions like this should be taken into consideration by other sheriff’s departments because of the success of the event. After potential expenses, the Wagoner Sheriff Department raised around $80,000 to $85,000 that can be used by the sheriff’s department in the coming year.
An auction like this does not just help the sheriff department but also other potential government organizations as well. The sheriff is quoted as saying, “With next year’s budget, I may not have to ask for as much in my request, knowing there is this money coming in from an alternate source.”
This auction is a win for all sides. The sheriff’s department receives the funds it needs to support the community, people are able to receive new items and their old lost items and the local government can spend that amount of money on other important areas such as education or corrections.
Other sheriff’s departments across Oklahoma should follow the example of Wagoner in creating these auctions in order to try and bolster their reserves during Oklahoma’s current budget crisis.

Post Author: Nathan Hinkle