Sheriff Deborah Burchett has been in office less than six months, but found time to come out to Enon and introduce herself and her Chief Deputy Travis Russell to the members of the Enon community at the Village Council meeting on March 28, 2017. Burchett told council members that she has had no real transition with the previous administration and has been busy working on getting her team together and planning for her tenure as head of Clark County law enforcement.
In her remarks, Burchett explained that she has been working on having all officers cross trained in her department. This allows deputies who would normally only work in the jail to train for the road patrol as well giving more opportunities to increase the number of officers trained to serve the entire community when opening on the road patrol become available.
Burchett explained that her “biggest problem in the county right now is drugs”. She cited that the City of Springfield and the county both are experiencing a high number of drug incidents. “We will never be able to clean up all drugs” said Burchett, but her goal is to make a dent in the number of incidents. “It is everywhere these days” she said in regards of finding drugs in small towns and townships across the county.
When asked about the use of Narcan by the department, Burchett responded that her officers do carry the drug in every cruiser and that they have used a total of 109 doses since January at a cost of $71 each.
When asked about working with the various governmental entities across the county, Chief Deputy Russell explained that “we are working with every township and every village in the county”. Mayor Tim Howard thanked Burchett and Russell for their “cooperation” with Chief Lew Wilcox and his department members.
As far as changes that have taken place with coverage of one deputy in Mad River Township, Burchett assured council that coverage is provided and that the department works closely with former township deputy Jeff Wise.
Council member Steve Trout asked if the Sheriff might consider allowing the Village of Enon to work with her department and Mad River Township to share an Enon officer for coverage of areas such as Green Meadows when they are the closest unit available for an emergency call. Burchett did not express any opposition to such a proposal from the Village and Township officials.
In response to questions regarding coverage of the township areas, Burchett assured the council members that additional night officers are already on the streets, however the department cannot promise township deputies exclusively.
All law enforcement across the country is experiencing cuts to federal funds and Clark County is no exception. Burchett and Russell explained that the department saw a three percent cut in 2017 and expects an additional cut in funds of five to seven percent in 2018 which could lead to layoffs for the department despite the hiring of six new deputies recently.
In regards to how she is managing her budget, Burchett explained that she works closely with Russell in trying to identify cost savings. One of those options is to reduce the number of times an inmate is moved from one location within the jail to another. Some things that are on the table for possible elimination are the five day per week church and AA meetings held currently. Another cost saving move may involve limiting the number of visitation hours for family and friends down from five days per week as well.
Burchett plans to eliminate the trailers currently located under the jail in the parking lot at some point in the near future. Although the jail is over the 180 capacity to around 220, Burchett does not plan to send prisoners out of the county for housing. She noted that crime is up because of drugs and is looking at ways to write grants to get more officers on the streets. She also plans to meet with local judges regarding how to lower the numbers of prisoners in the jail.
Members of council thanked Burchett and Russell for their open remarks and candid conversation. Burchett offered her support of the Enon Police Levy and anything that her department could do to make the May ballot issue successful.