Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 20, 2018

County mulling future uses for current sheriff’s office

Aug 04, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


Although it will be 18-24 months before Henry County has a new law enforcement center/jail, people already are asking what uses are planned for the current sheriff’s office and jail.

County supervisors briefly discussed the matter late last winter when the plans for the new sheriff’s complex was in its infancy but never came close to making a decision.

However, one use for the building, which is located across the street south from the courthouse, may be the juvenile probation office. Currently, the county rents space in a building on North Jefferson Street for the office, paying $650 per month rent plus utilities.

“Moving the juvenile probation office to the sheriff’s office would easily be a savings,” remarked Supervisor Gary See.

Supervisors have also talked in the past about using a portion of the building for storage.

Mike Hampton, co-chair of the Citizens Organized for Public Safety (COPS) Committee, the committee which successfully spearheaded the “yes” vote for the new sheriff’s complex (which received 84.7 percent approval in the Aug. 1 election), said he already has had a number of phone calls asking him what the current law center building will be used for.

“I have been asked about plans for the old jail,” Hampton said Thursday at the supervisors’ regular meeting. “You need to keep the public informed on the use of the old jail.”

Hampton also urged the board to keep the public and city officials informed on the progress of the new law enforcement center. “Keep in touch with the city council and city officials on what is taking place,” he said. “I think it is important that communication flows back and forth.”

Finally, he suggested that the supervisors strongly consider having a project manager for the new facility because such a person would be well-versed in construction and neither the sheriff nor the supervisors have time to monitor the progress of the project.

He also said that his committee is available to the board if needed. “This is a great committee. We had different thoughts and ideas but meshed well as a committee. If you need something from the committee, let us know because we want to see this through.”

Thursday’s supervisor meeting also featured the monthly department head meeting.

Walt Jackson, county emergency management director, said the state may amend its funding formula to county emergency management departments “which may hurt us.” He also noted that a state grant his office was to have received last October still hasn’t arrived.

County Sheriff Rich McNamee said his office has received 14,144 calls this year for service as of Thursday morning. The sheriff’s office also has an opening for a female jailer and will have a fall intern from New London High School and one from Iowa Wesleyan University.

The canvass for the Aug. 1 $9.1-million bond referendum vote to finance a new law enforcement center will be canvassed Aug. 8, Shelly Barber, county auditor, said. She also noted that property tax statements will be mailed in the next week or two.

Roger Shindell, president and CEO of Carosh Compliance Services, briefed department heads on updates to the county’s HIPPA policy. All county employees will need to take training (via the Internet) on the new policy. However, the amount of training will vary, according to the employee’s department and job description, Shindell said. “We will only train people on what they need to know. We won’t be training everybody on everything.”

Following Shindell’s briefing, supervisors approved the new HIPPA manual. The manual was last updated in 2008, according to Sarah Berndt, county coordinator of disability services/general assistance director.

County supervisors will meet again in regular session Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 9 a.m. in the Henry County Courthouse.

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