PCSD to part with old cars, firearms

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Looking to shed some unnecessary inventory in the department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department received approval for a pair of proposals at the recent meeting of the Putnam County Commissioners.

Seven department patrol vehicles are being decommissioned, some of which have been sitting in the county impound lot for two years.

Chief Deputy Phil Parker explained to the commissioners that the vehicles all have between 150,000 and 180,000 miles on them and are no longer of use to the department in their current state.

In an attempt to clear out the impound lot, Parker requested permission to sell the vehicles via an online auction. The auction is to be conducted by MrBidAuctions.com, which is owned by Troy McElfresh of Muncie.

The commissioners approved the proposal to auction the seven cars.

Likewise, reviewing the department weapons safe, Col. Parker said he and Sheriff Scott Stockton found a variety of different brands and calibers of handguns, many of which were well-worn.

“Of all the equipment a police officer carries, that’s the one you want to work every time you go to use it,” Parker said.

In an effort to bring some better weapons into the department as well as simplifying the variety of weapons used, the sheriff’s department is looking to enter into a federal weapons exchange program.

Through this effort, about 100 pistols — many no longer serviceable — will be exchanged for 45 newer, more reliable models.

The exchange will also simplify the overall fleet of pistols, reducing the nuber of calibers to only two, 9 millimeter and .45.

Entering into the program will not cost the county.

“We’ll be able to do this without any impact on the budget,” Parker said.

Asked why there will be two calibers instead of one, Parker emphasized that going to those two calibers should give every officer the chance to use a weapon with which he or she feels comfortable.

“You, as a police officer, had better feel comfortable with your weapon,” Parker said.

As part of the program, two deputies will be trained as weapons instructors.

The plan was approved as presented.

The department will also be parting with one of its K9 officers.

The German shepherd is on its second handler within the department and has become aggressive.

Nearing the end of its service life, the animal recently broke a tooth and has become a liability to the department, both financially and, potentially, from an insurance perspective.

“Al it’s doing right now is building up vet bills, feed bills,” Parker said. “it has not be able to be a product member of our department.”

Parker and Stockton proposed to transfer the animal, which was purchased with grant funding, to Putnamville Correctional Facility. PCSD representatives have already spoken with Superintendent Brian Smith who said the prison could find use for the animal.

“It would benefit the prison system,” Stockton said. “It’s just good relations.”

The commissioners approved the proposal.

County Highway Supervisor Mike Ricketts was the only other person on the commissioners agenda, giving updates on work in the county, most prominently, six different bridge projects.

Ricketts reported that Bridge 8 on County Road 800 North is completed and reopened. The only remaining work on the small bridge is work to the approaches, which will be completed next year.

Bridge 42 in Franklin Township has been torn out, with concrete work starting this past week.

Concrete work was also set to begin on Bridge 76 in Floyd Township.

The county is still working through various preliminary phases of work on Bridge 110 (County Road 525 West in Madison Township), Bridge 165 (1200 South in Washington Township), Bridge 150 (200 South in Greencastle Township) and Bridge 215 (1126 South in Cloverdale Township).

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