JAY - Delaware County Commissioners received their first monthly report from interim Sheriff Rick Littlefield during their meeting held Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Littlefield said they are getting control of the jail and have been dealing with some of the general maintenance issues including toilets, sinks, door repair, a hot water heater and going through the evidence room in the old jail. Working with the assistance of Investigator Mike Eason with the District #1 District Attorney's office, they are inventorying items that have been held in the room for quite some time. "The evidence room was a mess, it was unbelievable", said Littlefield.
As far as personnel issues, Littlefield told the board that Kent Vice has been named as undersheriff and a new jail administrator assumed duties yesterday.
Policies and procedures were addressed. Littlefield said paper service is being handled as there were "holes" in getting the paper services done correctly and timely. Filing reports from the officers was also addressed. He said he receives phone calls every day wanting to know if reports had been filed on incidents reported to the sheriff's office. He also added that there would be follow up activity on these reports.
Absentee employees issues was directed to the board. "I had a phone call at 5:32 in the morning from an employee that was supposed to be on shift at 6 a.m. The absentees are running amuck," he added. He went on to say that there would be changes in the absentee policy including doctors permits. "An employee not showing up creates a hardship on those that do show up," he said.
Inmates being transported to the hospital in Grove for treatment was addressed. "We are putting together a hospital policy that states what the person has been arrested for. The hospital wants this information for the protection of their staff. An officer will be with them the entire time they are at the hospital as well. This is a safety factor," said Littlefield.
Presently, prisoners are often released on their own recognizance to receive health care and are asked to return to court on a certain day. The jail can't afford health care by keep these prisoners and it was the sheriff's feeling that the prisoners should have to pay for it.
Jail population was discussed. Littlefield said that the jail was in compliance Saturday night until more were arrested increasing the population from 69 to 81. "We have got to keep the jail in compliance as best we can. Last week we transported 9 prisoners to the department of corrections and hopefully this week we will have 4 more ready. We have to get them out of here," Littlefield said.
Personnel issues were addressed despite the fact that he could not answer or speak of hiring and firing. "All 50 some employees came in with a resume. I didn't know around 40 of them. I put together an interview team of Kent Vice, now undersheriff, and Grove police officer Gayle Wells. What we found was a lack of education, and training. We need education and this will be addressed," he relayed.
Littlefield was asked if prisoners (trustees) would be allowed to work on county roads and city properties throughout the county as a cleaning crew. "Sure", he answered. He went on to add that he would have to use prisoners who qualified and wanted 2 crews assembled. "If you let them work all day, there's no fighting and foolishness, you wear them out."
"In the 22 days I've been in office I have seen changes, morale has changed, uniforms are being brought out and dry cleaned and we are starting to build relationships with over law enforcement agencies. We want to build credibility and accountability with all the law enforcement agencies. The people deserve good law enforcement. They're paying for it. We are working to improve all the services," he concluded.