|Wednesday, 17 February 2010 15:20|
by Whitley County Sheriff Mark Hodges
The new year has brought some exciting news to the Sheriff’s Department. As previously publicized, Chaplain Gerald Bills was selected as Chaplain of the Year by the National Sheriffs’ Association for 2010. Each year the National Sheriffs’ Association seeks nominations across the United States for several awards and this year we nominated Gerald. Gerald and his wife Jeanette have been ministering to inmates of this jail for 35 years. They have touched the lives of hundreds of inmates and probably even some employees. In addition to travel expenses, the National Sheriffs’ Association will provide conference registration to Gerald and Jeanette to travel to Anaheim, California in June to receive his award. Recognition of Gerald and Jeanette’s work is long overdue. If you see them, give them a pat on the back. Some specialized training is in the near future for several members of the department. Deputy Cory Patrick has been accepted for a class that will enable him to assist in the proper response to and eventual disposal of methamphetamine labs. At the conclusion of the training, Deputy Patrick will be fitted for protective clothing and given several other tools. The training is hosted by the Indiana State Police at no cost to the department. Confinement Officer Sergeant Frank Loe will be attending free training by the Indiana Department of Correction on the subject of Correctional Management and Custody Supervision. Sergeant Mike Engle and I will attend a class in Ft. Wayne on the latest issues concerning pursuits, pursuit driving and pursuit policies.
Chief Deputy Marcus Gatton and I recently met with representatives from the YWCA and a newly formed Domestic Violence Assistant Program. We were told the purpose of the program is to provide on-scene assistance to victims of domestic violence. A volunteer who is trained by the program managers will respond to domestic violence scenes when called by local police. The volunteer, a survivor of domestic violence, will provide the victim with education and options.
On January 26th, the Sheriff’s Department began a building-wide recycling program. A recycling dumpster has been delivered here and all employees have been instructed to recycle more and throw less in the trash. Prior to starting this program, too many recyclable materials from the kitchen were being thrown in the trash dumpster. Now we are filling the recycle dumpster at least once per week and my hope is to reduce our trash pickup by half. If we can meet that goal, I hope to re-negotiate our contract and reduce our costs with National Serv-All.
Shortly after I wrote my article last December, the body of Debra Houser was located. Again, I want to thank everyone that assisted in any way. I also want to publicly thank Detective Chuck Vogely for his dedication to the investigation and to Sergeant Randy Dellinger for his meticulous crime scene investigation. Their hard work will greatly enhance the future prosecution of this case.