April 4, 2015

Sheriff’s department talks changes, coverage, contracts

By STU MERRY

With changes come questions. And with questions come answers. This past week, McLean County officials gave cities in the county an opportunity to learn what changes have been made in the sheriff’s department and what modifications are planned in the future.

New Sheriff JR Kerzmann led the meeting. He said the goal is to get the department, county and cities on board with what the department is doing. Most important is keeping open lines of communication.

Kerzmann explained how the new chain of command works. Hours of patrol in each community were detailed.

One of the new changes is that at the end of the month, a "beat zone report" will be sent to cities giving them a snapshot of how much coverage they received for that month. It will not only be beneficial to the department, but cities as well, Kerzmann said.

"This is a way we can track coverage," he said. "Before we had no way of knowing. We are doing this to make sure you are getting what you are paying for."

Garrison and Washburn, being the two largest cities in the county, each receive 19.46 hours of coverage a day. On the other end of the spectrum is Benedict, receiving .24 hours of coverage.

Kerzmann said deputies now work 12-hour shifts. On a normal day nine patrol officers are on duty. This does not include a detective’s time or drug task force time.

A lot of cities are getting more coverage than they are paying for, said Commissioner Doug Krebsbach.


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