County to add deputy, school resource officer

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

An additional deputy and a school resource officer for the Northeast Dubois County School Corporation will be added to the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department force.

The Dubois County Commissioners approved those positions Monday, but denied Sheriff Donny Lampert’s request for two additional jailers because of concerns about financial ramifications of adding all four positions to the staff at once.

The Dubois County Council learned last week that it needed to cut $1.1 million from the general fund in its proposed 2019 budget. The solution is to move some big cost items, like insurance, from the general fund to the county’s Local Income Tax Economic Development Fund.

The commissioners decided that because of those needed budget cuts, they couldn’t see adding two jailers at this time.

“We have to be good stewards of the county taxpayers’ money,” Commissioner Elmer Brames said.

That being said, the commissioners told Lampert that they know he needs the additional staff.

Lampert told the commissioners of the various duties the deputies must handle or help with, including serving papers, transporting inmates to court or the hospital if needed, performing jailer duties at the security center. If a deputy is out sick or on vacation, the others must fill in to cover that deputy’s shift.

In March, the commissioners added an additional deputy to the roster to help cover such shifts. Lampert said that helps with one of the 12-hour shifts of the day. One of the deputies the commissioners agreed on Monday to add will cover the other 12-hour shift, Lampert explained.

The school resource officer will likely be a veteran officer who will get additional training from the state, Lampert said. A new person will be hired to fill that veteran officer’s position. The $35,000 committed by the Northeast Dubois School Board and the $35,000 school safety grant from the state will be used to help cover the cost of the school resource officer.

The cost of adding a deputy is about $82,000, which includes salary and benefits; that does not include the cost of uniforms, equipment and a vehicle.

Also in March, the commissioners added two jailers to the staff. All of this is getting closer to the needs assessed by the National Institute of Corrections in December. The study showed that the department needed an additional eight employees to function adequately

“Dubois County is growing,” Lampert said. “We need to grow with the county.”

Commissioner Chad Blessinger admitted that his initial reaction was not to add the second deputy. But considering the time it takes to get a deputy trained and on the road, and the time it will take to get a new security center, things need to be done now to help the department, he said.

The Dubois County Council said at its budget meeting last week that it plans to provide the extra funding needed to cover the school resource officer. But any additional staff had to be approved by the commissioners first before the council would consider funding.




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