Sheriff's Department considering changes

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Promotions and pay changes to rectify inequities among deputy positions have received the approval of the Merit Board of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.

Additional office hours and an inventory of equipment and services are also in the works for PCSD.

Sheriff Steve Fenwick and Chief Deputy Doug Nally presented the recommended changes to merit board members Charlie Roach, Larry Sutton, Bill Newgent, Dorothy Brown and Jerry Birt on Tuesday.

The promotions saw Sgt. Tom Helmer elevated to captain in charge of the day shift and Deputy Dwight Simmons to lieutenant in charge of night patrols. And the board agreed with pay changes that brought all deputies in line with their rank and years of service.

Nally said some pay inequities had occurred for years, and now the deputies who also have canine responsibilities will be compensated as they should have been all along.

"We're trying to do things as we think they should have been done for a long time," the chief deputy said.

The funds for the changes came from the vacancy of Fenwick's former position as jail commander. And that position's merit pay will be transferred from the jail budget to allow an additional merit deputy to be hired next year. The search to fill that position will begin before the end of the year, the sheriff said.

Nally noted that those changes have already been presented to the county council, which approves budgets and appropriation changes as the fiscal body of the county.

The merit board also agreed that the changes are needed.

"We are one of the larger counties in terms of road miles to be policed, and we have fewer deputies, and we have paid them less than deputies in other counties," Sutton said.

Another change to be coming for the sheriff's department will be the addition of Saturday office hours to allow members of the public who cannot take care of business on weekdays to have access to the office. The public will be able to apply for gun permits, background checks, request copies of reports and handle other business during the extended hours. Those hours will be announced.

In a review of in-house equipment, Nally said he has found that the department provides cell phones for several employees, as well as pagers for the deputies. Since the county's new dispatch center is able to send pages to cell phones, the department will eliminate 28 pagers and the accompanying cost.

Nally said he will also work on an inventory of other equipment, including weapons, and will request assistance from the State Board of Accounts in making sure the department complies with state requirements.

As for vehicles, Nally said, an audit has been completed on the vehicles in the department fleet. Several of the unused vehicles parked at the department's firing range have been removed from the insurance roll, and the surplus will be auctioned off. Arrangements have already been made with other local agencies having need of a vehicle to purchase at a low cost some of those surplus vehicles.

Several of the older police cars with high mileage will also be replaced, since they are costing a lot in repairs. The fleet will be brought back up to power with the help of the county prosecutor's asset forfeiture fund. And, the new vehicles will be the standard brown and tan Ford Crown Victorias, Fenwick noted.

The merit board commended Fenwick and staff for the changes.

"I think you guys have taken hold of what was an unpleasant situation, not running very efficiently, and have begun to turn it around," Sutton said, "and I applaud you for that."

"Most definitely," Roach concurred.

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  • "Nally said..." Does Fenwick ever speak? Is Nally running the show? The changes are good but why isn't Fenwick speaking?

    -- Posted by twosense on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 3:48 AM
  • I have enjoyed seeing the Sheriff's Department out and patrolling County roads again. Maybe some of these robberies and vandalism in the country will take a big drop. Also the excessive speeding and tearing up of gravel roads should decline. I so far like what I see and hear, let's see if it can work.

    -- Posted by mad-mom on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 6:16 AM
  • "The funds for the changes came from the vacancy of Fenwick's former position as jail commander. And that position's merit pay will be transferred from the jail budget to allow an additional merit deputy to be hired next year."

    So is there going to be a jail commander or has that position been eliminated completely?

    -- Posted by LangdonUlger on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 6:57 AM

    -- Posted by Michele1953 on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 9:00 AM
  • Business as usual...Fenwick not speaking out.

    Nally makes it sound like such a great thing they have done over the money and a new Deputy. Fenwick did not mind for the last six and a half years to hang out in the jail and draw all that pay as a Merit Deputy and never work the road.

    -- Posted by B1161 on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 9:16 AM
  • typical, steve keeps quiet in case something goes wrong, then it will look like nally's fault.

    i believe doug should have been sheriff rather than steve anyway.

    keep up the good work doug, keep hiding steve.

    -- Posted by gottokno on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 10:38 AM
  • What's typical is the sour grapes crowd. Nothing bad to complain about, so you complain about who made the announcement. Get with the program and be glad positive changes are happening. Don't just complain about everything regardless of what happens. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    -- Posted by Knowthetruth on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 12:20 PM
  • We needed a change and we got it. So far it has been a positive change for the taxpayers of the county however you still have the "new rope" crowd. Nothing ever is right with them. Always whining about something. Maybe what we have in the sheriff's department may not be perfect but it is so much better than what we had. It is definitely taking steps in the right direction. The mess we had did not happen overnight and the solution will take some time.

    -- Posted by calcans1 on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 9:42 PM
  • the boss just has to get things done, good or bad. he doesnt have to get up and give speeches all the time. its called employees...they work for u. bit*h about something else. i even saw steve fenwick at a fender bender on jackson st. last saturday. your doing a good job down there steve and by talking to the other guys they like the change. look at the work gettin done and the smile on thier faces. good job putnam co.

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 7:03 AM
  • A good leader delegates his authority and that is what Sheriff Fenwick is doing! He doesn't need to be center stage to be in control of his department. He can and is a thorough leader, controlling his department and delegating his authority. What an impressive change for the Putnam County Sheriff's office! Keep it up,Steve!! Great job!!

    -- Posted by jimsgirl on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 2:23 PM
  • Fenwick says plenty and anyone who actually "knows" him definetly knows that. So stop all the useless blabbing about who's doing the talking, Steve's running the show, no doubt about that one.

    -- Posted by cmg071580 on Thu, Oct 2, 2008, at 9:08 PM
  • I dont agree with some of the changes Steve has made (some of the staff who has lost their jobs and the short notice) But I also dont think that Steve has to do all the talking either. He did afterall walk into a mess that Mark made for the whole county and he has a huge job ahead that will prob keep him busy for a year or more. Has anyone ever stopped to think about Mark. He was always the first to speak...first on the news...but didnt do his job..He took the credit that he did not deserve. I can only hope that the changes Steve makes will make Putnam county a safer community. But I for one would like to hear from Steve as to the plan to get the community back on track and not so much in the spotlight as Mark Frisbie has made.

    -- Posted by Mythoughts2and3 on Mon, Oct 6, 2008, at 6:56 AM
  • I think its about time that putnam co. has a real sheriff. sounds to me he's doing a job that should have been done a while back.Keep up the good work>

    -- Posted by cmlandscape on Mon, Oct 6, 2008, at 6:38 PM
  • Here we go again. Just another long time insider to the Sheriffs Dept. assuming a different role. Same long time players just changing chairs, and we are supposed to exspect different results. Steve's been there through all the years of corruption in that Dept. You can't tell me that he knew nothing as Jail Commander. Steve's been there quietly in the backround for what, 20 or 25 years now? OK, he might seem like a breath of fresh air for right now, but how long before it gets back to business as usual. If it already hasn't.

    -- Posted by RRgson on Wed, Oct 8, 2008, at 1:30 PM
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