Warrick County Sheriff Mike Wilder described a plan to use funds generated by the Warrick County Jail to pay for a review and overhaul of the Warrick County Sheriff’s Office’s policies.
Wilder told the Warrick County Commissioners that he plans to request funds for the review in the next Warrick County Council meeting. He said he plans to request the appropriation of money accumulating in the county’s general fund from payments received for housing Vanderburgh County inmates in the Warrick County Jail.
Wilder told the commissioners Warrick County has agreed to host the inmates while the Vanderburgh County Jail faces overcrowding and he plans to continue hosting inmates while space is available. He said the numbers have been lower due to measures taken to limit jail populations during the coronavirus pandemic, but the agreement brought $140,245 into the general fund in 2019 and has already raised $42,980 in 2020.
Wilder said current events and the national conversation about law enforcement has presented the need to review policies. Plus, he said some of the policies have been on the books for decades.
“What we see, what’s going on in the world and stuff, I think there’s a big review needed of our policies,” he said. “Everybody sees the TV, reform and policies and things like that. It’s going to take a good overhaul to do that. We have a quote to do that, but we’re going to need money.”
Wilder said that while some of the rhetoric involved in the national conversation surrounding issues with policing seems extreme, he believes people locally just want to have a good police department.
“It’s called ‘defund the police,’ but I don’t think that’s really the case around here and I think people actually just want a good police department,” he said. “There’s some things that I want to see us do that puts us at the top, but it’s going to take a little bit of money to get some of these things in place and reviewed.”
Wilder said his department is reaching out to the services available through a company that is partnering with the Indiana Sheriff’s Association because it will be a massive undertaking. He said the Sheriff’s Office has hundreds of pages of Standard Operating Procedures.
Wilder said he constantly reads and reviews the procedures, but is difficult to fully retain all of the information to vet each policy. He said the process will also allow the procedures to be updated with laws that have changed.
“There’s always law changing and that doesn’t always keep up with your manuals,” he said. “They’re comparing policy with the newest and making sure you don’t have any conflicts within your policies, that you’re up to date with the latest laws and standards/guidelines. It’s a liability for me, my deputies, the county. It’s a good overhaul and review.”
The Warrick County Council’s July meeting will take place on Thursday, July 2, at 6 p.m. The Warrick County Commissioners will meet again on Monday, July 8, at 4 p.m.