|From the Whitley County Sheriff's Desk|
|Thursday, 19 August 2010 22:04|
by Sheriff Mark Hodges
Just in case you missed the great article by Post and Mail reporter Chris Meyers, I would like to congratulate Confinement Officer Steve Myers on his award for Confinement Officer of the Year for the State of Indiana. Steve goes above and beyond his required duties as a Confinement Officer. He helps inmates when they are released and have very little provisions. He will invite released offenders to his church and he has been known to drive released offenders to doctor appointments. Steve also does some of the building maintenance, fixing leaky pipes, repairing locking mechanisms, sealing asphalt, bulb replacement … the list goes on and on. He has saved us thousands of dollars in budget money by providing this service.
I have three goals for improvements to operations for the next four years. I would like to install GPS tracking in all of the patrol cars. GPS will be of great assistance when the public calls in to say a police call was traveling too fast through an intersection or past their house. A GPS recording will allow me to review the speed of the officer, review road and weather conditions and then determine if the officer was responding to a call. A safety feature of GPS will allow us to locate an officer should the officer not be able to respond on his radio.
I also want to revisit the possibility of video arraignment. This project will allow us to present arrestees to the court without leaving the confines of the jail. In some cases, an inmate that is being housed in another jail could make a court appearance without having to be transported to Whitley County then back to the holding jail. Lots of miles and man hours can be saved with this feature. Video arraignment is basically electronic audio /video equipment that is installed in the jail and in both local courts. With the proper mounting of cameras and microphones, the prosecutor, judge, defense attorney and arrestee will be visible to each other without taking the arrestee out of this building. This will increase security while decreasing the number of officers required to walk the inmate across the street to court.
Finally, I would like to find funding to replace the 23 year old door opening system. This system is responsible for unlocking cell doors and other security doors. The panel contains several dozen rocker switches that are pressed to unlock a certain door. Due to the age of the panel, replacement parts are becoming obsolete and a service call to make a repair is extremely expensive. The latest replacement for the existing panel is a computer operated touch-screen system. The computer screen will display a schematic-like drawing of the interior of the building with all doors numbered. When an officer calls to have a door opened, the Control Room officer simply touches the computer screen to open the door. Since the price tag of this system exceeds $100,000.00, funding from grants will be researched.
In closing for this month, I would like to share some of the jail statistics from 2009. These statistics are from an annual report that I am required to submit to both judges, the governing bodies and to the Department of Correction.
Total number of inmate beds in the Whitley County Jail remains at 100. The total number of persons booked for 2009 was 1892.
The total number of felony charges was 492. The total number of misdemeanor charges was 706.
The top ten bookings by order of offense: 1. Court Hearings (FTA, FTC, etc.) 568. 2.Operating While Intoxicated 477; 3. Burglary /Theft 204; 4. Possession of Controlled Substance 173; 5. Holds for other departments 133; 6. Possession of Paraphernalia 118; 7. Minor in Possession 107; 8. Driving While Suspended 64; 9. Habitual Traffic Violator 61; 10. Battery 59.
The average daily inmate population for 2009: 104. The highest population was on 06-08-09: 128. The lowest population was on 11-12-09: 81. The total jail and in-custody deaths for 2009: 0; The total number of escapes for 2009: 0. The total number of juveniles booked via waiver or direct file for 2009: 1. Bookings - Number of County Residents Booked 914. Average Stay (in days) 37.4.Average Age 32. Males 1407. Females 485. White 1720. Asian 3. Black 86. Hispanic 49. Amer. Indian or Alaskan Native 2. Other 2. Unknown 30.