Mark Hodges

October 2009

The past two weeks has brought good and bad news on this grant request.  The bad news is our request for $98,100.00 was denied.  The good news is we, along with several other Sheriff’s Department and State Police Posts, are receiving the electronic fingerprinting system. As previously written, this system would replace the current manual method of taking fingerprints.  The automated system would be much more accurate, would help to identify persons and would coincide with the goal of the FBI to achieve electronic fingerprinting of all fingerprinting data.  We have not yet been notified when to expect delivery of this new equipment.  We have made an inquiry as to why we were denied our grant request and we will apply again very soon. 

Matron Marcia Dierks, Head Cook Pat Slaten and I met with our food sales representative to discuss ways to shrink our food budget.  After reviewing our current menu and list of frequently purchased items, it was recommended to make certain substitutes that will lower the cost but not decrease the nutritional value of the meals.  We are still early into this process but our goal is to cut our meal budget by ten percent.

Late in August, I was able to get a drop box installed in the lobby of the jail for anyone that needs to dispose of old, out-dated and unneeded drugs.  The lobby is open 24/7 so drops can be made at anytime.  Please do not drop off liquids, syringes or razor blades.

Jail Commander Sean Martin attended a free week long school on Jail Staffing Analysis.  The school’s goal is to help improve jail operations by improving jail staffing practices.  The training identified the many jail operations and then attempts to build a plan to increase efficiency. 

On August 27, several employees, family and friends of Gerald Bills met  for a surprise 80th birthday for Gerald.  Gerald and Jeanette Bills have been ministering to the inmates here for nearly 35 years so they both deserve a bit of recognition.  “Happy Birthday” to Gerald and “Thank You” to Gerald and Jeanette for their unselfish commitment to hundreds of inmates over the past 35 years.

The school year has begun again and already I have been to Columbia City High School to give a Driver’s Education presentation.  At Whitko High School, Probation Officer Chastity Lester and I speak to the government classes on the difference between adult laws and juvenile laws.  As part of that class, I do a segment on the proper behavior of drivers and passengers after they have been stopped by a police officer.  I conduct a series of mock traffic stops where selected students act as drivers and passengers and respond to me from a script that I have written.  After the mock traffic stop, we discuss what the driver and/or passenger did right or wrong during the stop.

I would like to thank Rob Arms and R&D Motor Sports for supplying us with another Yamaha Rhino to use for the next six months.  As reported before, Yamaha sponsors a program that provides law enforcement agencies with a Rhino for free.  We continue to use ours for details such as parades, 4-H Fair security and snow removal at the jail.

In closing, I want to remind everyone of the pancake and sausage breakfast sponsored by the Sheriff’s Reserves on Saturday morning, October 31 at the 4-H Center.  Check this paper for times.  Please come out and help support the Reserves to enable them to purchase equipment and to fund the first annual “Shop With a Sheriff.”  This program will enable some less fortunate children to do some Christmas shopping with an officer from the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

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