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Sheriff makes pitch for officers to council

Vote expected March 22
Sheriff makes pitch for officers to council Sheriff makes pitch for officers to council
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Harrison County Council was able to hear Sheriff Nick Smith’s request for four additional police officers to be added to his team at its meeting Monday evening.

Smith’s reasoning for why the need for new officers comes from a history of the county being well below the national average of police officers per 1,000 people. Nationally, according to the FBI, counties have 3.4 police officers per 1,000 people, and metropolitan areas have 2.8. Currently, Harrison County averages 0.8 officer per 1,000 people.

The sheriff explained to the council that while adding seven new officers would bring the county to one officer per 1,000 people, which is currently where Floyd County stands, he believes adding four officers is a conservative number they would be able to work with. He also expressed to the council that with the addition of four new officers he believes they will not have to purchase any new vehicles, instead will make do with the current fleet.

While it was not advertised for Monday’s meeting, Smith will return to the next council meeting to request additional funds, about $8,300, for four body cameras and vehicle cameras that will accompany each of the new officers.

“As a county, response time is truly what our police force struggles with,” Smith said. “By adding four officers, I think that will truly help us decrease that time and better serve and protect our community and the residents of Harrison County.”

The council will vote on this matter at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, March 22, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.

Jon Stepro, maintenance director, approached the council to request additional funds. If approved, one request of $50,000 would go toward equipment repair, which would include garage doors and hardware for five doors total. The other $50,000 request would be for the building repair line for a number of maintenance requests that have built up due to the age of some county buildings.

“Our equipment isn’t going bad randomly; it is just getting to the age where it has done its job and it’s just time,” Stepro said. “That is why we are getting a lot of the bigger expenses recently, because the bigger stuff is starting to fail due to age. I would rather do these expenses in one lump sum so I don’t have to keep coming in here and bugging everyone.”

The council will also vote on this matter at its next meeting.

In other business, the council approved requests for two vehicles. One was for Kevin Russel, the director of the highway department and county engineer, for $29,730. That money will go toward the purchase of a 2021 Ram truck. The other amount approved was $252,000 for a new ambulance for the Harrison County EMS.