Daviess County Sheriff Brad Youngman said Friday he has made several changes in his first months in office, including putting more deputies on patrol and expanding training and equipment for court security officers.
Youngman took office in January. Other changes since then include creating a unit focused primarily on drug investigations and making the office more customer-friendly, Youngman said.
The drug unit contains three detectives, and is a branch of the general investigations unit, Youngman said.
“They have been busy,” Youngman said of the drug unit. “They have already recovered every type of drug that has been in Daviess County, and they’ve gotten several weapons off the street.”
The office has increased the number of patrol deputies by restructuring court security, Youngman said. Sheriff’s offices are required to provide security to court facilities.
“The CSO staff was never armed” but are allowed to be armed by law, Youngman said. The office increased training for court security officers beyond what they are already received. The office is in the process of arming court security officers but they have go through additional training.
Court security officers are largely part time, but are paid $15 an hour by the state. The pay, which was previously $9 an hour, was raised by state lawmakers last year.
“We are giving them advanced weapons training, weapons retention training, and weapons skills training, and that’s after they complete the academy for CSOs,” Youngman said.
The court security training gives CSOs the ability handle duties that were currently handled by uniform deputies who were also stationed at the judicial center, Youngman said. With CSOs able to perform a wider range of tasks, the sheriff’s deputy positions at the judicial center were freed up to be turned into patrol positions, Youngman said.
As a result, more deputies are out on patrol during shifts, which gives them more time to do investigations and other proactive duties, Youngman said.
More deputies on patrol means deputies can be “where they need to be, and not running lights and sirens across the county all day long,” Youngman said. Deputies will also have more backup when needed, he said.
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“I think people are seeing us more” on patrol, Youngman said. “If that’s important to them, it’s important to me.”
The changes in training with CSO, in addition to the pay increase, will hopefully bring in more people to work long-term court security, Youngman said.
Additional deputies will allow the office to open a substation in Whitesville at City Hall. Youngman said the office allows deputies to meet with people, file reports and do other functions. The substation will open April 15.
The substation won’t be manned full-time, but deputies working the east side of the county will check into the station daily, Youngman said.
Sheriff’s office customer services were previously spread out in the courthouse, with tax services on the first floor and applications for concealed-carry permits on the second floor. Youngman said the office is moving concealed-carry permits to the first floor.
“We are working to make the office more accessible,” Youngman said. “I wanted to make the office a one-stop shop.”
All office staff, including the tax office staff, are also being trained on how to administer Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, can be pressed to look like prescription pills, and can be added to other drugs.
“No one is really safe from fentanyl,” Youngman said.
The office is recently received tasers from Hopkins County Sheriff Matt Sanderson, to replace the obsolete tasers Daviess deputies were carrying. Youngman said the office is pursuing contracts for tasers and could be bundled with other services, such as body cameras.
“I feel we are right in line with the progress we started in the summer” when Youngman began preparing to take office, he said.
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