Sheriff shares update on first 2 years in office

By TOM J. KLEINHELTER
Special to The Herald

As I begin year three of my term in office as your Dubois County Sheriff, I will say I am not at all disappointed to see 2020 go. I bet we can all agree on this.

The first two years of my term have been filled with learning, adapting and adjusting. In 2019 we started implementing numerous changes to make the office run more effectively and efficiently.

We renegotiated several of the contracts and switched providers for our inmate medical, inmate commissary and food providers. Those contracts alone have saved the county thousands of dollars. This change has a dedicated nurse at the jail for 20 hours a week, which allows us to save from emergency room visits and prevent certain outbreaks in the jail.

Liberman Technologies' contract was also expanded to include the addition of the cash book and Tax Warrants, which more than doubled the counties revenue from previous years.

Chief Deputy Chris Faulkenberg and Administrative Assistant Kenya Harris completed the mandatory Indiana crime reporting requirements with a 100% compliance for the first time ever.

Our K-9 program was revitalized with the addition of K-9 Chase. Deputy Clint Gogel and Chase completed 12 weeks of training. In January 2021, Deputy Gogel, who will assume the patrol sergeant responsibilities ,and Chase are ready to begin their new duties.

The sheriff’s office and both the Northeast and Southeast school corporations came to an agreement to add a school resource officer to their school systems. Deputies Tim Lampert and Josh Smith have both settled into their new assignments. Due to retirements and additions, we have hired five deputies and six jail officers, bringing our total to 22 deputies and 21 jail officers.

In 2019, we decided that it would be in the best interest of our county to have all deputies and patrol cars outfitted with body cameras. The return on investment is having much more detailed documented police incidents. We are now seeing it become a priority amongst numerous agencies to have body cameras installed. We were a leader in moving in this direction.

We had several other happenings within the jail. We partnered with Life Springs and Recovery Works Reentry to start a women’s life skills program, which we named “FRESH START.” We were starting to see positive results, and then COVID-19 hit, and we had to pause them.

As 2021 arrives, and I begin the final two years of my first term, I assure you that this office will be there for you. We will be here every day and night patrolling your county roads and neighborhoods. We are going to continue to update policies and procedures, be more proactive in our policing, and continue making the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office the best that it can be.

The construction on a new jail pod and updates to the existing security center and corrections will make it even more challenging. But this entire office is committed to excellence. We are up for the challenge.

In closing, thank you all for the support. It truly is an honor being your Sheriff.

Happy 2021 and GOD BLESS,

—Tom J. Kleinhelter
Sheriff, Dubois County




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