On the weekend of September 29th, my opponent’s campaign sank to a new low of spreading false information with door hangers in neighborhoods and posts on Facebook. Please take a few minutes of your time to learn the TRUTH about me and your Floyd County Sheriff’s Department.
1. The Truth and nothing but the truth about the debate…
I was disappointed that Leadership Southern Indiana could not host a debate this fall. I did decline an invitation to debate my opponent at IUS. I have much respect for the University. But as it turns out, several of his key supporters work there and are in positions of influence.
The truth is that I did NOT refuse to debate my opponent in a neutral setting where neither of us has any affiliations. That’s only fair. I have contacted the News and Tribune about hosting the debate. They are interested and trying to make it happen.
2. Smoke and Mirrors…
My opponent is accusing me of spending Floyd County funds recklessly. As a Sheriff in Indiana, I cannot spend one penny of county funds without county council approval. My opponent knows this but uses this tactic to deceive the public. In addition – the budget numbers he portrays in his advertisements are simply wrong. While true that Sheriff’s department budget has increased, the numbers my opponent states are incorrect. The Sheriff’s department budgets are approved by the County Council and my common sense requests have typically received bi-partisan support.
Over the last 4 years, the County Council has approved my request to add 10 additional police officers to the department. This has brought the average number of officers on the street from 2 per shift to 5 per shift at any given time. This has improved response times, lowered crime rates and provides safety for the officers and residents.
During the same time we have hired 10 additional corrections officers. Again this was a common sense request that was approved by the county council. We now have 44 officers, or 8 officers per shift to oversee 320 inmates on average. Before hiring these officers the ratio was 6 officers per shift.
Hiring these additional officers for the road and the jail cost $1.5 Million.
3. Regarding the Jail project…
Our county jail was built in the early 90s and designed to hold 126 inmates. Over time double bunks were installed to handle a growing population. This increased capacity to 243 inmates. Today the jail houses on average 320 inmates. Did you know in 2008 Darrell Mills did a feasibility study on the jail and ignored the recommendations to bring the facility up to maintenance standards and increase the number of beds? Darrell Mills also ignored the required inmate classification process resulting in a 2014 lawsuit which Floyd County settled for $1.2 million.
In 2015 when I took office, I inherited a jail where routine maintenance had regularly been neglected or ignored. A jail with plumbing issues, electrical problems, a leaky roof, old electronic systems that we couldn’t even get parts for. There were safety issues for not only our corrections officers but the inmates as well. As Sheriff – it is my job to make sure the County Commissioners are aware of the issues. Fixing these problems protect Floyd County from further lawsuits and keep us in compliance with State and Federal jail regulations.
Right now there are 42 jail projects underway in Indiana. Vigo County is building a 500-bed facility for $53 Million. Building a new jail was not the right solution for Floyd County. Floyd County’s jail project came in under estimate, with the total cost of construction at $14.5 Million. $7 Million of which is repairs, $3 Million to add an additional 115 beds to ease overcrowding and reduce liability. My opponent continues to say it is $20 Million, and that I am responsible for a jail tax. Both of these things are FALSE.
With the sale of the Hospital, the county has the CASH to pay for the project. But again – funding is controlled by the County Council and NOT the Sheriff.
4. No Apologies…
As your Sheriff, I have continually been a fan of merged government and combining resources. I had the idea to form a regional SWAT team for this reason. The combined team takes egos out of the equation and focuses on public safety. Contrary to what my opponent says, New Albany Police Department was given the same opportunity to join the regional team and they declined. The annual cost for each agency to participate is $4800.00. This has saved us thousands of dollars and allows us to give the public the best response possible.