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Jasper Co. Sheriff
(219) 866-7344
Rensselaer Police

(219) 866-7602
DeMotte Police
(219) 987-3344
Indiana State Police
(800) 552-8917

 

First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to publicly express my sincere gratitude and appreciation toward the employees of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.  Although I hold the office of Sheriff, the safety of the community and success of the sheriff’s office is due to the selfless service and dedication exhibited by its personnel on a daily basis.  Each and every employee at the sheriff’s office, regardless of their position, comes to work every day as a servant.  They live in this community, send their children to school in this community, raise families in this community, and are willing to sacrifice of themselves for the betterment of this community.  For that I am eternally grateful.

In order to keep the community educated in regards to departmental matters, I want to reiterate some things I have covered in past articles and interviews.  There appears to have been some confusion about a few issues, and I believe it is important for concerned citizens and taxpayers to be informed with the facts.

First, the use of any money we seize due to the efforts of our officers, drug interdiction unit, and cooperation with other agencies is regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice.  Seizure money cannot be used to supplement the normal budget of the sheriff’s office.  This means seizure money cannot, by law, be used to pay salaries or standard budget items such as utilities at the jail.  We have made use of seizure money to provide equipment and training for our officers in order to further counter the invasive drug activity in the community.  Utilizing seizure money we have been able to get two officers fully trained as Drug Recognition Experts.  This training allows them to identify what illegal substance a person has ingested, aiding in criminal prosecution as well as medical treatment.  We now also have a crash re-constructionist to assist in fatal and serious injury accidents, as well as a polygraph operator. 

Another piece of equipment we have been able to acquire is the armored rescue vehicle.  The armored rescue vehicle was purchased with seized drug cartel money.  The only tax payer expense has been for fuel and an oil change.  Not only does this provide our officers with additional protection during call outs, it also has numerous capabilities that cannot be matched by any of our other vehicles.  During the extremely harsh winter we experienced beginning in January of 2014, the armored vehicle assisted in the rescue of a family of four, including two small children.  In sub-zero temperatures and low visibility we used the armored vehicle in conjunction with two state highway plows on State Road 16 in deep, drifting snow.  The drifting caused the plow trucks to become stuck, but we were able to pull the plows out of the snow banks with the armored rescue vehicle on three separate occasions.  Eventually we reached the family and safely returned them to their home.  Later that same night we were able to use the armored vehicle to rescue a man who we found laying beside the road way.  He was found unconscious and poorly dressed for the hazardous weather and low temperatures.  Our deputies transported him inside the rescue vehicle to an ambulance that was waiting on US 231.  Neither the ambulance nor our other four wheel drive trucks were able to reach the man due to the deep snow and poor conditions.  The armored rescue vehicle provided that ability, ultimately assisting in a life saving mission.  I have no doubt it will continue to be a valuable asset to the community for years to come.

In addition, drug seizure funds have been utilized to upgrade electronics, safety equipment, and the squad fleet for the sheriff’s office.  The police package Tahoe squads were purchased with a bid from the state of Indiana.  These are two wheel drive, pursuit rated vehicles that came in under $27,000 with that state bid.  They are perfectly suited to use for our K-9 and other specialized units, provide additional interior room and typically offer a longer life span than an average squad car.  The Ford and Dodge squad cars, also purchased using a state bid, come in between $25,000-$26,000 depending on options.  Buying a Tahoe for a specific application is only slightly more expensive, especially considering the added capabilities inherent to the vehicle.

Despite the cooperation we enjoy with other law enforcement agencies in the area and with the Indiana State Police, the fact of the matter is that nobody can be in two places at one time.  If the entire region is suffering from a blizzard or severe weather, we cannot afford to wait on other agencies to assist our community.  Chances are, their assets and equipment will also be occupied with the same conditions that we might be having in Jasper County.  It could be hours, or even days, before another agency is free to let us borrow a truck, squad, or piece of necessary equipment.  By that time, it could be far too late to save someone in distress.  If an event transpires in the county that requires the use of an armored rescue vehicle we will not have time to waste waiting for outside assistance.  Even if the Indiana State Police, for example, are willing to let us use their armored vehicle it could be located anywhere in the state at any given time.  It is unacceptable to allow our community and citizens to suffer preventable harm, danger or loss of life because we are not prepared to respond independently and in a timely manner. 

As our community advances, so must the sheriff’s office.  In much the same manner that technology has allowed modern medicine to make our society better equipped to treat people, it has also allowed us to become better equipped to serve Jasper County.  When I first joined the sheriff’s department as a road deputy in January of 1980 we carried a revolver, a night stick, and a pair of handcuffs.  We didn’t have any personal radios to use or less than lethal options such as a TASER® or pepper spray.  As much as I would like to return to simpler times, the reality is that we cannot.  Society often forces change upon us in one form or another that we would alter if we were able.  Until then, we will continue to make it a priority to serve and protect the community to the best of our abilities.  Our deputies have a combined total of nearly 300 years of law enforcement experience, an average of 13 years per deputy.  The men and women of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to their profession and take pride in being able to provide quality service to the citizens of Jasper County.  That service often takes different forms, and we have to be properly trained and equipped to respond to a variety of situations.  Our personnel deserve the best training and tools available.

The goal of the sheriff’s office is to make Jasper County as safe of a place as possible.  In order to do so we need to continually advance our equipment, training, and facilities.  I make no apologies for our efforts in this critical mission regarding what we have purchased or will purchase in the future, as it is always driven by this goal.  I want to thank everyone who exercised their constitutional right to vote last week.  It is a privilege paid for with the blood of thousands who sacrificed their lives and livelihood in order for future generations to enjoy the fruits of liberty.  It is a cornerstone of our republic and a right that fewer and fewer nations enjoy in our world today.  Thank you for reading. Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Terry J. Risner, Sheriff